Asthma symptoms usually get triggered by exercise. Many asthma patients suffer from a difficulty in breathing, coughing, chest tightness or wheezing while doing exercise. However, most asthma patients can enjoy their exercise with the right supervision and treatment.
Exercise is crucial for everyone including the asthma patients. Asthma patients are usually sensitive to extreme temperatures, dry air, pollution, and allergens. When at rest, nose breathing moistens, warms, and filters the air before passing into the lungs. During exercise, most of the people breathe through the mouth that may trigger the symptoms of asthma. Asthma patients should not overexert during exercise as this will trigger the symptoms of asthma.

Best Exercises for Asthma

  • Swimming: It is one of the best exercises for asthma as it builds up the muscles used for breathing.
  • Yoga: It is also a very good exercise for asthma.
  • Other exercises that can be good for asthma patients are:
    • walking
    • biking
    • gymnastics

Precautions for Exercising in the Condition of Asthma

One must talk to a doctor before planning any exercise schedule especially, if you suffer from asthma.  Most people with asthma get help by administering short-acting bronchodilator 15 minutes before the beginning of the exercise. In extreme weather or in high levels of pollution, asthma patients should exercise indoors. Following measures will be helpful in exercising if you suffer from asthma:

  • Warm up before starting any exercise
  • Try to breathe through the nose and avoid breathing through the mouth
  • Cover your nose and mouth using a cloth or mask in winters
  • Do indoor exercise when pollen counts are high in the air
  • Avoid outdoor exercise when the air pollution is high
  • Cool-down after exercises
  • Do not overexert yourself while exercising

What Should Be Done If the Asthma Attack Occurs During Exercise?

If you suffer asthma symptoms while doing exercise, then stop and follow the instructions mentioned in the asthma action plan. Keep rescue inhaler handy. Use it as soon as possible. If still, you are not feeling better, then call for emergency help immediately.

Treatment for Exercise-induced Asthma

Your doctor may prescribe you certain medicines to take before exercise or for daily administration.

Pre-exercise medicines: Certain medicines may be prescribed by your doctor to be administered before exercise. They help to reduce or prevent the exercise-induced bronchoconstriction. Following medicines may be used for this purpose:

  • Short-acting beta agonists: These medicines help to open the airways. They are the most effective pre-exercise medicines. They include albuterol and pirbuterol.
  • Ipratropium: It is an inhaled medicine, which relaxes the airways. It may be effective for some patients.

Long-term Control Medicines:

In addition to pre-exercise medicines, your doctor may prescribe long-term control medicines also to manage chronic asthma. These medicines may include:

  • Inhaled corticosteroids: These medicines suppress the inflammation from the airways. To get its maximum benefits one requires administering this medicine for two to four weeks. These medicines may include fluticasone and beclomethasone.
  • Combination inhalers: They contain a corticosteroid and a long-acting beta agonist. They relax the airways. They may be prescribed by your doctor for pre-exercise use. Their combinations may include
    • fluticasone and salmeterol
    • budesonide and formoterol
  • Leukotriene modifiers: These are oral medicines, which may inhibit the inflammatory activity in some individuals. These medicines may be used regularly or as a pre-exercise treatment. They may include montelukast and zafirlukast.