Published On: Thu, Aug 16th, 2018

Exercise is the Best Way to Lower Your Risk of Deadly Asthma Attacks

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Asthma Facts

  • Over 235 million people worldwide are suffering from Asthma, says World Health Organisation (WHO).
  • Asthma is a very common chronic disease among children in low-income countries
  • In 2015, around 383,000 people died due to Asthma

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic disease which is characterised by repeated attacks of breathlessness or wheezing. The frequency of attacks or severity varies from one person to another.

An affected individual may face difficulty breathing several times a day or week, whereas some individuals start wheezing at night or during some physical activity, depending upon the severity.

Asthma Attacks

Although the causes of asthma can be many and vary from one person to another, there are some that are common to all individuals. Though the fundamental causes of asthma are not listed anywhere, the strongest asthma triggers are mostly inhaled, such as

  • Outdoor allergens like dust, mold and pollens
  • Indoor allergens like house dust mites in the carpet, furniture, padding, pollution agents, and furry pets.
  • Polluted air, tobacco smoke, etc.
  • Chemical irritants, particularly in the workplace
  • Cold air, flu etc.

During an asthma attack, the airways of the affected individual become narrow, resulting in a reduced air flow in, as well as out of, the lungs and is typically led by swollen bronchial tubes.

How to Prevent Deadly Asthma Attacks?

Have you ever heard of some doctor recommending exercise to an asthma patient? Perhaps, no! Strenuous physical exercise might be good for your heart and waistline but not for your asthma.

“Patients could lower their risk of deadly asthma attack symptoms by exercising,” said charity Asthma UK. “This is one of the best ways to prevent signs of the lung condition.”

Exercise Helps Prevent Asthma Attacks

As the inflamed and sensitive airways are clogged by sticky mucus, keeping oneself fit is one of the best ways to prevent asthma attacks. The charity says that an affected individual can play cricket, as it is an asthma-friendly sport. Patients can easily catch their breath prior to another burst of activity. In fact, team sports are good ways to stay healthy as you can get enough time to catch your breath. As an added benefit, by playing such sports, asthma patients can curb frequent attacks.

The key point to note here is that your symptoms are under control as long as you are taking care of your asthma, and are following a healthy diet all day long. You can stay healthy and do any type of exercise, such as a brisk walk twice a day (start from once a day, typically in the morning). As soon as you start feeling healthy, you can partake in a marathon as well.

A regular workout session helps your lungs cut down the risk of asthma attacks. Besides, you no longer have to stay on a limited exercise schedule, especially if your asthma is under control and your doctor gives you a go ahead. Periodically, you can start including more light exercises for a change.

In contrast, if your asthma is not controlled and you’re facing difficulties while exercising, stay onto your regular exercise schedule for the time being. This is because uncontrolled asthma can lead to a deadly asthma attack in no time. Don’t worry; you can do that later, once you get better.

But, do remember to consult your doctor before starting off on an exercise schedule.

Best Exercises for Asthma Patients

There are many exercises with short, intermittent exertion periods, such as badminton, baseball, volleyball, etc., which are generally easily tolerated by people with asthma.

Other activities that involve long exertion periods, such as basketball, running, field hockey, etc., may not be well-tolerated by every afflicted individual. Some other weather sports like ice hockey, ice-skating, skiing, etc. may also pose challenges.

Many people with asthma symptoms are seen partaking in swimming, which is a strong endurance activity, maybe because it is performed while breathing warm and moist air.

There are other physical activities for people with asthma symptoms are aerobics, indoor biking, a brisk walk on a treadmill.

How to Control Asthma to Exercise?

Keeping your current and previous medical conditions in mind, you must talk to your doctor before starting any sort of exercise program.

It is your doctor who can help you decide which exercises are the best for you while keeping your severity in mind. He can develop an action plan that will help you stay aware of the Dos and Don’ts during any exercise.

Always go according to the action plan. If suggested, take your pre-exercise dose to avoid the chances of an asthma attack during the exercise.

Make sure to do some stretching or warm-up exercises prior to your usual routine. Also, maintain a short cool-down period after every exercise.

In winters, prefer indoor exercises or cover your nose with a scarf or mask to avoid inhaling the cold air. Also, avoid outdoor exercises when the air pollution level is high.

Avoid exercising when, or if, you have a cold or any other viral infection.

Remember, you must not over-exert yourself.

What to do if You Have an Asthma Attack During Exercise?

Considering you have already consulted your doctor and have a proper action plan, stop right there if you start experiencing asthma symptoms while exercising and jump onto following the action plan right away. If you have been directed to keep your rescue inhaler handy, use it as per the directions. In case you’re not feeling better even after adequately following the action plan, call for medical assistance right away.

Final Words!

Always remember the fact that it is important to maintain both mental and physical health. No matter if you have asthma, avoiding exercise is never going to help. Asthma can be regulated with proper care and a healthy diet. With proper diagnosis and effective treatment, you can enjoy your life, thereby curbing the symptoms of asthma.