Those who suffer with asthma know that the tightness in your chest, the wheezing, the coughing, and the crushing inability to breathe can create a nightmare. When the weather is cold and dry it gets even worse. For these people, exercise and activity can suffer. Still, ever-growing knowledge and treatment are enabling people with asthma to stay active like never before.
Asthma affects nearly 20 million adults in the United States alone. This disease is a chronic condition that causes inflammation and narrowing of the airways resulting in those symptoms described above.
Nearly 90 percent of those who suffer with adult-onset asthma also have a related condition: exercise-induced bronchoconstriction. This condition causes sudden attacks during strenuous exercise. These attacks occur with little to no warning and can be severe. Poor air quality and environmental factors make matters even worse.
An Active Lifestyle
The good news is that physicians are arming themselves against these ailments with ever-increasing knowledge and effective treatments. Thanks to this, people with chronic asthma are able to live more active lifestyles than ever before. In fact, it has recently been pointed out that a full ten percent of Olympic athletes suffer from asthma.
Exercise can actually be good for treating asthma. This is because frequent exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, improves lung function and endurance. When combined with effective medications and reducing triggers like smoking, asthma need not inhibit a healthy lifestyle.
Controlling the Triggers
One of the key factors in maintaining an active lifestyle with asthma is learning to recognize and control your triggers. These can involve smoking, environmental factors such as mold and dust, allergies, and even weather patterns. While there is little one can do to control some of these factors, avoiding those you can makes a huge difference.
Working up an asthma action plan with your doctor can be of great help in reducing attacks. Allergy shots, inhalers and other medicines are available to help. Some patients even discover that as they increase their activity levels, the need for medication reduces significantly.
Controlling Symptoms while Exercising
Before exercising, add preventative treatment to your normal warm-up regimen. Before you stretch out, use a quick relief inhaler. Make sure that your pre-exercise stretching is a good ten to fifteen minutes long.
While exercising, especially when the weather is cold, breathe through your nose rather than your mouth. This helps to moisten your airways and prevent issues from tightening and inflammation. Cover your mouth with a scarf or bandanna. This helps to prevent the loss of moisture as well.
Diet, Attitude and Perspective
Diet and nutrition are important for everyone. Keeping your diet low-salt and rich with fatty fish, lots of fruits and vegetables and a lot of Vitamin C can help. However, the best thing you can do is keep a positive attitude and perspective. Remember that Rome was not built in a day. Take baby steps, and you will find that you can exercise despite your asthma symptoms in 2015!
Do you suffer from asthma and have big ambitions for your fitness in 2015? Give our office a call for an appointment today!