Don’t Take My Breath Away: 10 Sports That Can Improve Your Asthma Condition

  • By Jennifer Mulder
  • 15 July 2019
  • 3 minute read
Don't Take My Breath Away: 10 Sports That Can Improve Your Asthma Condition | The Health Sessions

This article is written by Hannah Belger. 

Sometimes it feels like exercising and asthma are a match made in hell. Although working out can trigger shortness of breath or other symptoms, having asthma doesn’t have to keep you on the bench. In fact, some Olympic athletes have this condition and still manage to take the medals home.

If you have asthma, you can successfully exercise with proper guidance and treatment, and even benefit from the physical activity. Although there are no sports that should be off limits to people suffering from asthma, there are some activities that will probably trigger asthma symptoms because you have to be active for a long time. These include soccer, cross-country skiing, and ice hockey. On the other hand, there are those that can have a positive impact on your health and help you stay in shape.

Here is a list of activities you could include in your daily routine without worrying you will run out of breath.

1. Walking

Instead of taking the bus or driving, try walking home every other day. This way you will keep your asthma under control while improving your fitness levels. Keep in mind that you should warm up before your walk and take five minutes to cool down.

2. Swimming

This activity is one of the best ones for people who have asthma since it exposes lungs to warm and moist air which doesn’t trigger asthma symptoms. In addition, swimming builds up the muscles we use for breathing, increases lung function and cardiopulmonary fitness. If you want to stay fit, this water sport is the best way to exercise without any unwanted side effects.

3. Yoga

This discipline is highly recommended for people who have asthma. Not only does it help reduce its symptoms such as chest pain, cough, difficulty breathing and shortness of breath, but also individuals who practice yoga regularly eventually stop using asthma medication. However, this doesn’t mean you should stop taking medication as soon as you start taking a yoga class. Even if your health improves, consult your doctor before taking any action.

4. Baseball

Unlike activities where the breathing rate is sustained for at least six minutes continuously, stop-and-start activities such as baseball usually don’t trigger asthma. However, it is always best to be safethan sorry, so make sure you are prepared with appropriate medication.

Don't Take My Breath Away: 10 Sports That Can Improve Your Asthma Condition | The Health Sessions

5. Golfing

This sport is another stop-and-start activity, where swings are alternated with walking to the next tee. Although golf isn’t likely to induce an asthma attack, keep in mind that it is an outdoor activity, so take the pollen factor into account before you grab your clubs.

6. Running

Most people believe that running and asthma don’t go together, especially since running in nature involves environmental triggers such as air pollution and pollen. However, running with asthma doesn’t have to be mission impossible if done properly and safely. If you start slowly, rest when necessary, use your inhaler several minutes before the exercise, drink plenty of water and combine a mixture of short sprints with low energy endurance activities, you should be able to enjoy a good run without triggering your asthma.

7. Racquet sports

As long as you stay properly hydrated and take regular breaks between games, there is no reason you couldn’t enjoy a game of tennis or other racquet sport. With these activities, you can also control the pace of the game and slow it down when needed by walking leisurely to the baseline to serve or bouncing the ball before swinging the racket.

Don't Take My Breath Away: 10 Sports That Can Improve Your Asthma Condition | The Health Sessions

8. Softball

Just like baseball, softball involves plenty of time where you are basically just standing there in anticipation of the next fly ball. These breaks will lower your breathing rate and help avoid asthma symptoms. Also, using an inhaler for about half an hour before exercising and properly warming up can help you breathe easier during the game.

9. Volleyball

When playing volleyball you are sharing a small court with five other players so you get to take a break when the ball is not coming your way. In addition, setting and striking don’t involve much movement, so your asthma most likely won’t get triggered.

10. Football

This sport is many things, but safe definitely isn’t one of them. It leads to many head injuries and broken bones, but ironically it won’t do asthmatics any harm. Many breaks between downs can be boring, especially to viewers, but they actually reduce the chances of an asthma exacerbation.

Exercising is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, so try to be active at least three days a week. However, before you start a workout routine, make sure you consult with your doctor, especially if asthma symptoms worsen with exercise.

Author bio: Hannah is an aspiring writer and athlete with asthma. She would like to inspire kids and grown ups not to give up on sports by educating them. Hannah works as a content writer for RunnersClick, and when she is not working she is spending time outdoors with her family.

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