It’s World Asthma Day today so it’s time to encourage awareness of those living with asthma. According to the World Health Organization, around 235 million people live with asthma worldwide. It is one of the most common chronic diseases among children and is a worldwide public health issue. On World Asthma Day, what can we do to help people manage their asthma and have an enjoyable life? Find out below.
What Is Asthma?
Asthma is a noncommunicable disease that is known for recurring attacks of breathlessness, wheezing, and chest tightness. It cannot be cured but can be managed through medication and avoiding triggers. Frequent asthma symptoms can cause sleeplessness, fatigue, and reduced activity levels. Symptoms can happen several times during the day or week and for some, are exacerbated during exercise. So, that begs the question: can a person with asthma exercise? Yes! The best way to overcome exercise-induced asthma is to do certain asthma-approved forms of exercise.
Can A Person With Asthma Exercise?
You might be thinking, “Isn’t there exercise-induced asthma?” but know that there are specific exercises that can help with the symptoms of asthma and improve health overall. How does exercise improve asthma? Health benefits from proper exercises include improved lung functions and overall improved breathing. The severity of attacks can be reduced. Not to mention all the regular benefits of exercise, like increased energy levels, strengthened bones and muscles, improved sex life, and protecting the brain from age-related diseases. You might not get rid of exercise-induced asthma permanently, as it’s not curable, but this is how you treat exercise-induced asthma naturally! Plus, the added benefits of everything else that comes with regular exercise.
Types Of Exercises For Asthma
People often ask, how do you beat asthma with exercise? The answer is with the best type of exercises specifically for asthma! Start by slowly building up the level of exercise and doing types of exercise that promote lung capacity by regulating breathing. Additionally, exercises with short periods of rest help not to put too much strain on the lungs.
A popular type of exercise beneficial for asthma is yoga. It helps focus breathing through controlled, rhythmic, breathing exercises. There are many styles of yoga, some of which are more intense but finding a yoga style that incorporates short periods of breath is most beneficial. Doing yoga regularly also helps lower stress levels which can be a trigger for asthma.
If you work long hours in the office like many of us, a height adjustable desk will also help you stand while working and get in more exercise at your workplace. This will help build stamina long-term and improve your health. Worried about the cost to you or yourr boss? A standing desk can be claimed during tax deduction as a business expense. See this post about instant asset write offs for businesses.
Swimming is another exercise that can help with asthma. When you swim you are breathing in warm, damp air, and that can be good for asthma. Swimming like yoga also helps with breath control. It can be done gently at first and slowly increased in intensity for fitness and lung capacity. Swimming might not be for everyone, as the chlorine can trigger asthma symptoms.
Softball or baseball is another great exercise for asthma. The structure of the game allows for rest between short bouts of exercise. Sprint a short distance to hopefully catch that ball and then rest. Swing and run then rest and watch the game play out. Additionally, the camaraderie of a team sport is great for mental health and fun since asthma can take a toll on your mental health and happiness. It’s not official, but having a beer after the game with your teammates helps with asthma too.
Like softball, golf is an excellent start and stop sport which allows for plenty of rest between bursts of activity. It is low intensity and allows you to get outside for a breath of fresh air. If you want to add in extra exercise, walk the course rather than taking the cart! You’ll only add to strengthening your lung capacity.
Other light to moderate exercises that improve endurance without overstraining lungs are:
- Stairs or stair machines
- Elliptical machines
Ask your doctor if you would like to try more intense exercises and sports such as running, football, basketball, etc. They are not necessarily bad for asthma but each person is different and doctors can advise on how to manage asthmatic symptoms during these activities.
Can You Beat Asthma With Exercise?
A common question is “How do you treat exercise-induced asthma naturally?”. It’s understandable; medication for asthma is not desirable for everyone. While it also may seem like exercising sounds the opposite of good for asthma by making the person breathing harder and triggering symptoms, it’s not! So how do you beat asthma with exercise? A proper warm-up and cool-down with appropriate breathing techniques will allow you to significantly improve asthma symptoms. Often people forget when exercising that warming up and cooling down is important for a successful session. Warm-ups should take about 10 minutes. You can do this by walking or stretching. What you’re trying to do is increase the blood flow and oxygen to your muscles. When warming-up before exercising what you’re doing is reducing sudden temperature changes in the lungs. If you don’t warm up you might trigger asthma or worsen exercise-induced asthma!
Just as important as the warm-up is the cooldown which is often skipped. The goal of the cooldown is to properly lower the heart rate gradually. By doing this you are circulating oxygen to the muscles. Be smart and bookend your exercise session with a proper warm up and cool down.
Asthma will never be cured but with smart and moderate exercise, the symptoms can be reduced and your overall health will increase. By choosing enjoyable and appropriate low to moderate exercises, you can improve your lung capacity and reap the many benefits that regular exercise offers. Additionally, for some people, medication might still be required but a combination of medication and exercise can be beneficial as well. Think outside the box and try squeezing other ways to stay active in your routine besides exercise – even a standing desk for the office can help you get more movement into your work day. See Zen Space Desks‘ range of sit stand desks on our homepage.