Exercising With Asthma

Staying healthy is important for asthma sufferers, which is why healthcare providers recommend most people with asthma get moderate exercise regularly. However, it’s important that you’re able to recognize your exercise-related triggers, you always keep quick-relief medications accessible, and you develop a plan with your doctor to properly approach your exercise routine.

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Did you know?

At the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games, more than 20 percent of the U.S. Olympic team reportedly had asthma.

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Exercise-Induced Asthma

Exercise-induced asthma (EIA), or exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB), is a narrowing of the airways in the lungs triggered by physical activity. If you experience wheezing or coughing, shortness of breath, and/or chest-tightening while exercising, talk to your doctor about your concerns.

Symptoms Check

Is exercise a trigger for your asthma symptoms?

Do you experience wheezing, shortness of breath, chest-tightening, and/or coughing between five to 20 minutes after exercise?

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Diagnosing EIA is similar to a standard asthma diagnosis. Your healthcare provider will administer a lung function test with a spirometer and will put you through a short physical assessment—often running on a treadmill—to observe your increased breathing rate.

Talk to your healthcare provider about finding the best way to stay active without making your asthma worse.

Tips for Managing Exercise Triggers

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Avoid strenuous exercise when the air quality is poor

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Cover your nose and mouth during cold weather exercise

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Begin exercise with a warm-up

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Finish exercise with a cool-down period