Benefits Of Running If You Have Asthma
Running with asthma can undoubtedly pose challenges, but there are also benefits to gain by running if you have asthma.
In addition to reaping all the expected benefits of running, such as improving the health of your heart and lungs, increasing muscular strength and definition, improving mood and decreasing anxiety, building bone density, and burning calories, running can be helpful to those with asthma by helping control asthma symptoms in the following four ways:
Keep Fit With Friends
Social support is helpful for running with asthma. Tell your friends and family about your goals and milestones to help hold yourself accountable. Let a friend encourage you if youre slacking off. And dont be afraid to boast about your accomplishments because this can boost your confidence and provide positive reinforcement.
If youre running with other people, let them know about your asthma ahead of time. Tell them what symptoms to look out for and how to help you if you have an attack. In most cases, emergency treatment isnt necessary for an asthma attack, but people without asthma dont know. They might panic instead of getting you what you need. Along with your medicine, bring a medical bracelet or set of instructions on a small card to tell people what to do. This information enables them to assist you even if you cant speak.
Its also a good idea to let someone know when and where youre running. That way if youre not back by a certain time and they cant reach you, theyll know to search for you and call for help.
How Is Eia Treated
If you have exercise-induced asthma, your doctor might want you to take asthma medicine before being really active. This is often the same quick-relief medicine used for flare-ups. You breathe the medicine directly into your lungs before exercising and it works immediately to open up the airways. Doctors sometimes call this pretreatment.
If pretreatment isnt enough, your doctor may recommend that you also take daily long-term control medicine. This works over time to help keep the airways open. You need to take it every day, even when you feel well.
Many people find that if they take medicine as prescribed by their doctors, they can work out with few or no problems.
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Tips For Safely Running With Asthma
Reza Samad, MD, is a board-certified pulmonologist and assistant professor of medicine.
If you want to run for exercise, it may be inspiring to hear that many professional athletes have asthma. While asthma causes symptoms that challenge breathing, you can participate in any activity as long as you manage your asthma symptoms, notes the American Lung Association. In fact, regularly running or engaging in other types of exercise can improve the amount of oxygen your body can use, as well as your overall health.
First and foremost, it’s important to get the all-clear from your healthcare provider before running and to listen to your body when you’re out on runs. This goes for anyone with asthma, but especially those with exercise-induced asthma, who can experience dangerous wheezing and chest tightness when running.
Safely running with asthma also takes a little awareness of running conditions, as issues such as air quality and temperature may affect your asthma symptoms.
Ellen Lindner / Verywell
Can You Run A Marathon With Asthma
100% yes. World record holder Paula Radcliff proves this.
That doesnt mean its going to be easy. And of course the severity of your asthma is going to play a role. But dont let this hold you back. Instead, treat it like anyone else would with an injury. Learn what you need to do to avoid major issues and stay consistent.
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What Happens When You Run With Asthma
Your body has a physical reaction, which results in the airways narrowing known as bronchoconstriction. The result of this is a feeling of tigthness in the chest, wheezing and shortness of breath as your oxygen levels drop.
In fact, up to 90% of people with asthma have exercise-induced bronchoconstriction.
This can be very scary and isnt something to take lightly whether you have exercise-induced asthma or its triggered by pollution. While the symptoms will normally go away once you stop running, its key to know your triggers and how to handle them. Were going to talk about some tips for running with asthma below!
Because exercise is one of the most common triggers, you might feel like you need to hold back on intensity. However, the data says thats not entirely true! Lets talk more about how taking up running could help overall.
How Is Asthma Treated
Treatment varies greatly from person to person your doctors will fine-tune your plan and may need to adjust it seasonally or from time to time if your symptoms change, says Dr. Bose. But generally, treatment involves an albuterol inhalera.k.a., a rescue inhaler. These are bronchodilators, meaning they open the airways, and you use them to relieve symptoms in the short term when youre having an attack or before exercise.
Depending on your symptoms and the severity of your condition, you may also need a daily inhaler, oral medication, or other adjunct therapies, especially if allergies are one of the primary triggers of your symptoms. If your asthma is stable, you may not need to see your physicians regularlybut if you have severe symptoms, you should be evaluated and monitored closely by your pulmonologist, says Dr. Bose. If your symptoms are becoming more severe or frequent, that also means its time to talk with your doctor.
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Exercise Decreases Airway Inflammation
Studies from 1998-2015 have all come to the same conclusion that exercise can reduce inflammation in the airways. The quality of life scores improve in as little as 12 weeks!
Asthma is characterized by chronic airway inflammation, so the fact that spending time getting sweaty can be part of the rehabilitation process is amazing.
Getting My Diagnosis Was An Absolute Relief
Being diagnosed with asthma explained so much to me about my body and symptoms. Id had panic attacks in the past, which, with hindsight, were almost certainly asthma attacks. Now I understand what to do if my control isnt as good as it should be, I dont have the fear any more.
I wish Id known about my asthma earlier, and that those early warning signs had been taken more seriously. With a bit more time and knowledge, I could have competed in the Olympics!
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Sports For Avoiding Exercise
When it comes to exercise-induced asthma, warmer is better. “It seems to be associated with mainly people who are, for instance, skaters in cold, dry areas, or skiers doing really excessive exercise in a cold and dry environment,” says Craig. “The cold and dry air is one of the greatest stimuli for inducing bronchospasm.”
Along with cold-weather activity, sports with sustained periods of running or exertion are more likely to trigger exercise-induced asthma. They include:
- Short-distance track and field events
Whatever your sport of choice, exercise-induced asthma — or even chronic asthma — is no excuse to park it on the couch.
At the Olympic level,20% of elite athletes have asthma. In fact, at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, 23% of the Olympians were shown to have exercise-induced asthma after testing.
But exercise-induced asthma doesn’t have to slow you down. At the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, nearly 30% of U.S. Olympians who had asthma or took asthma medications won team or individual medals in competition, performing just as well as non-asthmatic athletes.
How Can I Deal With Exercise
When it comes to EIA, staying one step ahead of your symptoms is a good strategy. Ask your doctor what you should do before exercising or playing sports.
Here are some of the things doctors suggest for people who have EIA:
- Warm up carefully before any exercise to prevent chest tightening.
- If you do pretreatment, take your medicine as close to the start of exercise as possible.
- Breathe through your nose during exercise.
- Take brief rests during exercise and use quick-relief medicine as prescribed if symptoms start.
- Cool down after exercise.
- Avoid exercising outside during really cold weather. But if you have to, wear a scarf around your nose and mouth or a ski mask.
- If pollen or pollution trigger your asthma, exercise indoors on days when the air quality is bad or the pollen count is high.
- Dont exercise when you have a cold or the flu.
- Dont exercise if youre having asthma symptoms.
Taking medicine exactly as your doctor prescribes is the most important tip of all. Skipping long-term control medicine, if its prescribed for you, can make symptoms worse. Forgetting to take medicine before exercise can lead to severe flare-ups and even ER visits.
Finally, always keep your inhaler with you when exercising. You may feel shy about your asthma, but dont hide it from coaches or teammates they can help you. Coaches especially should know about your asthma so they will understand if you need to take a break and use your medicine.
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How To Run With Asthma Conclusion
Just because you have asthma or exercise-induced asthma, doesnt mean you cant exercise or run. You will just need to take some precautionary measures to prevent symptoms from showing up when running.
However, remember to warm up and down correctly during and after running. It will help open the airways and reduce the chances of asthma symptoms appearing during and after a run.
Must Follow Rules For How To Breathe While Running With Asthma
Can you run with asthma? Yes. But that doesnt mean there arent some things to take in to considerations as exercise can make it worse for many people.
Running can IMPROVE lung function, but it usually doesnt feel that way when we first start out.
Running does not increase the capacity of your lungs, thats largely determined by body size. But it can help your lungs to perform better over time per a study by Harvard Health. That means more oxygen getting to the muscles and simply starting to feel easier.
Breathing better is much like running itself.
You start to get better at finding your easy pace, which means you start to regulate your breathing instead of panting or gasping.
So lets talk about how to know what triggers asthma symptoms like pollution, allergies, or cold weather and some smart effective strategies for running safely with asthma.
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How Do Doctors Diagnose Eib
It is important to know the difference between being out of condition and having EIB. To make a diagnosis, your doctor will take a thorough history and may perform a series of tests. Your doctor will measure your breathing before, during and after exercise to test your lung functions. Then, your doctor will help you create a plan so you can take steps to prevent asthma symptoms and enjoy physical activity. Your doctor will also tell you what to do should a full-blown asthma episode occur.
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Start With Your Doctor
As with any medical issue, get advice before starting a new program. Youll need an official diagnosis to get an inhaler and you absolutely want to ensure that you run with it ALWAYS. Just toss it in your running belt.
Most doctors are going to encourage your exercise plan based on all the benefits we discuss. But they will best know what limitations you might need to be aware of or have additional tips based on their experience with other runners.
In fact, your doctor will help with your overall asthma action plan.
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Other Exercises Can Help Too
Most asthma experts agree asthmatics should stay active. This is true no matter how severe your asthma is. Some of my asthma friends enjoy walking. Thats fine! Thats great! Sometimes I walk too, others engage in archery and yoga. But if you want to try running, perhaps my tips will help you accomplish your goal.
Can Asthmatic Children Participate In Track & Field
The short answer is: yes! Asthmatic children can be athletes as long as their asthma is managed and controlled. They can keep fit and maintain a healthy weight by being active, working out, and playing sports. It can also help their lungs perform better by strengthening their breathing muscles.
The longer answer is that your childs doctor should always give them the green light before signing up for track and field. Every case is different, and while exercise is encouraged in nearly every patient, some may require different types of care than others.
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Make Sure It’s Asthma
Just because you wheeze or cough doesn’t mean you have asthma. “There are several things that can mimic asthma, the most common being vocal-cord dysfunction,” says Roberts. “I see a lot of that, especially in younger runners who are assumed to have asthma because they have a wheezing-like sound.” See your physician for a diagnosis to ensure proper treatment.
How To Relax The Airways
Dr. Thiruchelvam says the primary goal is to ensure that you dont avoid exercise. Here are some practical things you can do if you have exercise-induced asthma:
Gaining and maintaining good control over exercise-induced asthma often requires teamwork. A primary care sports medicine physician can help you keep your asthma well-controlled, so that exercise is less likely to trigger symptoms.
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How To Prevent/overcome Exercise
Although EIB is a common problem for most of the asthmatics, asthma attacks during and after exercises can be well prevented and treated by proper management of your condition.
Taking proper steps to prevent the symptoms naturally is usually recommended for patients. These include:
- Use asthma inhalers or bronchodilators before exercising
- Take your medicines before exercising
- Avoid exercising when you are sick
- Avoid exercising in cold dry air, use a scarf or a mask to cover your nose and mouth if you exercise
- Warm-up your body for 10-15 minutes before strenuous exercising or physical activities. Do not forget to cool down your body after exercising
Getting the help of best inhaler for exercise induced asthma is one of the sure-shot ways to deal with your problem. You can even carry many of these compact-sized inhalers in your pocket wherever you go.
Besides the above preventive measures, take care that you restrict your exercise on high pollen days. Also, avoid the exercises when the temperature is very low or there is heavy pollution outside.
As these conditions can make your asthma symptoms worse it is best to remain indoors and perform some good indoor exercises like aerobics, dancing, etc.
Remember that, asthma should not be an excuse for you to avoid your daily exercises.
With a bit of care, proper management and plan of action you can treat your condition â to get the benefits of exercising daily without triggering your asthma symptoms.
Avoid High Pollen Counts
Pollen allergies are commonly associated with asthma. If you have pollen allergies, consider checking your local pollen counts before heading out for a run.
If the pollen counts are high, you can opt to exercise indoors to prevent getting asthma symptoms. If you dont have pollen allergies, it may be unnecessary to avoid exercising outside.
Besides the actual pollen counts, other factors, such as windy conditions or thunderstorms, can also worsen symptoms of your pollen allergies and asthma.
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Running May Be Beneficial
With a plan for managing symptoms, kids who have asthma can fully participate in track & field. In fact, there is a growing body of anecdotal evidence that participation in activities like track, rather than being harmful, is actually beneficial.
According to Dr. Mark Scarupa of the Institute for Allergy and Asthma in Chevy Chase, Maryland, track, and other aerobic activities, improves cardio-pulmonary fitness which is extremely desirable for asthmatics. “Furthermore,” he adds, “there is a direct link to obesity and worsening asthma.” So track and other activities that help a child stay fit and maintain a healthy weight should be encouraged.
Here are the essentials for successfully managing asthma and track & field competitions.
- Determine whether the child is healthy enough to take part
- Explain how to monitor the child to ensure that she is tolerating the training and competitions well
- Help the parent to know when the child needs to take a break or adjust medication to manage symptoms
- Collaborate on an action plan to manage the asthma and
- Establish regular follow-up visits to make sure that the asthma continues to be under control.
Whats Waiting For Your Athletic Kids
People with asthma can play sports, and they can be pretty good at them if they stick to their asthma action plan. With your guidance and coaching, your kids will be on their way to becoming professional athletes.
If you need urgent care for children, look no further than Your Kids Urgent Care! Schedule an appointment today, and we will provide you with a plan to better manage your childrens asthma. In that way, they can play the sports they always wanted to play.
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