Exercising safely with asthma

During the summer months most of us spend more time than usual time outdoors taking part in summer activities. But if you have asthma you may be reluctant to do anything that involves exercise, especially if you’re one of those who find physical activity can trigger your symptoms.

Exercise is important if you want to keep your asthma symptoms under control as it helps boost your lung capacity. And the fitter you are, the easier everyday essential activities – such as shopping or housework – will become too, simply because your stamina will be higher. Staying physically fit may also boost your immune system and keep your weight healthy, both of which may also cut your risk of having asthma symptoms

The good news is there are ways of reducing your risk of having exercise-induced asthma symptoms. Here are some of the things you can do to enjoy your summer while keeping your asthma under control.

Have a check-up Before starting any type of exercise, speak to your GP or asthma nurse about how well you’re controlling your asthma symptoms. Your GP or asthma nurse may also recommend that you take a puff or two of your reliever inhaler before you start exercising if you find that being physically active triggers your asthma symptoms.

Choose your activity According to Asthma UK there’s nothing to stop you having a go at pretty much any sport if your asthma is well managed. The best thing to do is to choose something you actually enjoy, as well as something that you can fit into your daily life easily. If you’re not feeling particularly fit you start by trying walking, swimming, playing table tennis or badminton (both usually involve less running around than tennis or squash), playing team sports that give you time to rest in between bursts of activity such as cricket or netball, or a mind-body exercise such as yoga or t’ai chi.

Keep your inhaler close Even if you don’t have to use your reliever inhaler before exercising, make sure you always having with you, especially when you’re doing any sort of exercise.

Don’t overdo it If you haven’t done much exercise lately, start slowly and build up gradually to the recommended 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week. Always warm up and cool down for 10 – 15 minutes before and after getting active.

Stop if there’s a problem It’s normal to breathe harder and faster when you’re being physically active. But stop immediately and use our reliever inhaler if you experience any of the following:

  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Feeling very short of breath
  • Tightness in your chest
  • Difficulty speaking
  • According to Asthma UK, the following can also help reduce your risk of exercising affecting you:
  • Take your medication exactly as prescribed and discussed with your GP or asthma nurse.
  • Check with your GP or asthma nurse that you’re using your inhaler correctly.
  • Go for regular asthma reviews.

Meanwhile if you have any questions or worries about any aspect of your asthma medication, your local Careway pharmacist is available to help, no appointment necessary.

Find your nearest Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.