Asthma and Exercising – How To Workout Safely and Effectively


The days when doctors would advise asthmatics to avoid exercising in order to avoid an asthma attack are long gone. People who suffer from asthma no longer need to fear exercise and doing activities and they can actually excel at being active and participating in different sports like never before. In fact, doctors are now encouraging this population to become more active while progressing slowly at a safe pace.

There are several types of asthma such as chronic, bronchial, allergy mediated and exercise induced or combinations of any or all of these. In most cases you will find people have combinations of 2 or more of these types of asthma. Asthmatics usually carry a rescue inhaler known as Ventolin but sometimes these inhalers include different names from generic brands.

There are also medications used to help with asthma sufferers which treat the disease. This helps to avoid asthma attacks so that the rescue inhalers are used less often. It was once believed that exercise was bad for asthma as it would usually set off an attack and most of these people were inactive already. Once the asthmatic can break through these attacks by taking the rescue inhaler before starting to exercise, they eventually get fit enough to avoid attacks and might even not have to use the rescue inhaler before training. The key is to be able to get started with an exercise program then the healing begins.

Exercise, especially cardiovascular training, helps to condition the lungs to take in oxygen more efficiently and help with proper breathing patterns. As the body adjusts to the specific exercise, the attacks are minimized. Unfortunately, other things can set off an attack at the gym such as perfume scents or even cleaning products used to disinfect the equipment after people perspire on the machines. Air conditioning and negative stress can also set off asthma attacks.

An asthmatic who adds an exercise regimen to their life is choosing an excellent way toward managing the disease and getting healthy. Other important factors for exercising with asthma include moderation and the overall speed of the workout. Asthmatics should not speed through the workout and it’s important to keep a nice even pace while taking time to stretch and rest until they are more accustomed to working out and not suffering any attacks.

Chest exercises such as flys, the pec dec, cable crosses and pullovers are excellent movements to help expand the rib cage and also the chest cavity which is especially useful for an asthmatic. Try to start with 10-20 reps for 1-2 sets when beginning and then slowly increase the weight and adjust the sets and reps according to your fitness goals. Stretching out with the pectoral attachment when using the machine is also very useful for keeping the chest cavity open for optimal breathing.

Yoga is a breath based exercise and focuses on opening up your breathing patterns and focusing on deep abdominal and diaphragm breathing techniques so this is an excellent addition to add to your exercise program. I also feel that Pilates is great since it was originally crafted based on improving health by fighting diseases. Opening up the body to allow oxygen to travel through the body along with developing core strength is the basis for Pilates.

Tai Chi is an energy based exercise program. Although it’s very passive, it’s another useful exercise to aid in the treatment of asthma and it’s amazing for relaxation.

As you can see, there are several choices available to help keep asthmatics active and healthy by doing different exercises which vary from passive to ballistic and also cater to a wide variety of tastes and needs. So, get out there and start being active so you can live a healthy and vibrant life!

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About Author

Linda Cusmano

Linda is a national level fitness and figure pro who dabbles in bodybuilding competitions, obstacle and strength challenges along with fitness model competitions. She is a triple certified elite personal trainer and the owner of Body Rush Personal Training. See my profile page for more information!

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