Exercising With Asthma
Prevention and Treatment While it’s no secret that engaging in regular physical activity is among the best choices we can make to stay healthy, for people with asthma it can be a challenge.
Approximately three million Canadians live with asthma, more than two million of whom experience asthma symptoms during exercise. For some people it is the primary trigger for an asthma attack.
Exercise-induced asthma symptoms can include coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and/or wheezing which can begin within 10-15 minutes of starting the physical activity, or within 5-15 minutes following exercise. These symptoms are caused by inflammation and constriction, which cause your airways to become narrow and make it difficult to breathe.
It’s important for Canadians living with asthma to not let it become a barrier to living an active life. Through proper disease management, trigger avoidance and proper use of medication, people with asthma can participate in exercise and can even see an increase in lung function over time.
Resources and support
But forty-five percent of people with asthma – 1.5 million Canadians – still avoid regular exercise, and as many as sixty per cent view their asthma as a barrier to physical activity. But it doesn’t need to be. In fact, it’s possible for people with asthma to be able to exercise safely and resources exist in your local community to empower you in leading a healthy and active lifestyle.
If you experience asthma symptoms with exercise, it is important to discuss these symptoms with your health care providers. There are a variety of treatments to help manage exercise induced asthma symptoms that you and your doctor can discuss, most importantly the role of medication.