October 7th, 2021
What should I know before working out with Asthma?
Asthma is a topic that hits close to home for me (Poul – founder & owner of NF!) because I have struggled with it it my whole life. I’m in good company – about 3 million Canadians are currently living with asthma, which can range from being a minor nuisance to a more serious condition. The good news is that it doesn’t have to hold you back from physical activity or sports.
With the right care and knowledge, you can enjoy participating in regular exercise. In fact, regular physical activity can actually reduce asthma symptoms by improving overall respiratory health. We can absolutely help with this through in-home personal training (in Toronto) and virtual personal training (anywhere) – but here are a few tips to get you started, or for those who prefer a DIY approach.
What TO Watch Out For
When it comes to asthma, there are a few things you should avoid in order to stay safe, avoid flare-ups and remain comfortable. The two biggest ones are air quality and overextending yourself.
When air quality is rated at 101 or higher you may want to consider changing your activities or increasing your medications on these days. Those with more severe asthma might even notice flare-ups with air quality ratings between 51 and 100. For that reason, it’s a good idea to check air quality before any activity, which can usually be done easily through virtually any weather app.
It’s also very important that you avoid overexertion, especially if you suffer from exercise-induced asthma. To do this, you may want to consider monitoring your respiratory status before and throughout exercise. Doing a proper warm-up beforehand and taking any asthma medication, such as an inhaler, can also help ensure you keep this condition under control and are able to enjoy your life and your favourite activities.
How to WORK OUT WITH ASTHMA
So, what else can you do to manage your asthma and stay active?
1. Workout INDOORS At-Home
As previously mentioned, air quality can drastically impact your asthma and lead to flare-ups. Many times, working out at-home and indoors is better than outdoors, especially if there’s pollution. Some gym environments might also contain harmful cleaning chemicals that can irritate your lungs. At home, you have more control over your environment and therefore your own safety.
2. KEEP YOUR PUFFER CLOSE BY
Even if you hate the fact that you need a puffer (like I do), it’s important to have it close by when exercising -= just in case – and always follow your doctor’s orders when it comes to prescription medication.
3. Participate in Cardiovascular ACTIVITY
Research indicates that moderate exercise can provide a therapeutic tool for individuals with asthma. Increased cardiovascular and metabolic conditioning may help reduce your asthmatic symptoms and improve your overall quality of life. This can be as simple as regular brisk walking, cycling or other activities that get your heart rate up and you enjoy.
4. Take Frequent Breaks (as needed)
For many asthmatic individuals, continuous exercise may lead to flare-ups. Thus, plan frequent breaks. Tune into how you feel. If you feel as though it’s getting more difficult to breathe or other asthmatic symptoms are increasing, it’s a good idea to stop and rest.
Working out with asthma is entirely possible! In fact, it’s more or less encouraged, as long as you do it safely – which we can absolutely help with, if you’re looking for some guidance and support.
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America – Air Pollution “What Do I Need to Know About Air Pollution?”: https://www.aafa.org/air-pollution-smog-asthma/
National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health – “A Rapid Review of Disinfectant Chemical Exposures and Health Effects During COVID-19 Pandemic”: https://ncceh.ca/documents/field-inquiry/rapid-review-disinfectant-chemical-exposures-and-health-effects-during
U.S. National Library of Medicine – “Exercise and asthma: an overview”: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4653278/