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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What type of exercise can I still perform if I have asthma?

    I have trouble breathing when I run. How can I ensure that I stay fit?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Sonia Glanville

    Exercise Physiologist, Massage Therapist

    PE teacher; safety educator and workplace trainer/assessor and massage therapist-helping manage chronic diseases and injury rehabilitation. I'm passionate about strength training and a holistic approach … View Profile

    As long as you perform a gradual warm-up (not high intensity) and cool down for 10 minutes, and take reliever medication 15-20 minutes prior to exercising all exercise is good-except for scuba diving. Care should be taken if there is high air pollution or if the weather is extremely cold as cold dry air can trigger an asthma attack.
    When running try bursts of jogging and walking to gradually build up breathing timing-try flat surfaces first and gradually build up incline. Swimming is an excellent activity for asthmatics due to the warm moist air.

  • Zac Jefcoate

    Exercise Physiologist

    Zac Jefcoate is the owner of Exzac Health Solutions. He was one of three accredited exercise physiologist practicing in G.P super clinics in Western Australia. … View Profile

    To ensure that you stay fit, there are two things you need to do with asthma. Number one, make sure you have your Ventolin two puffs ten minutes prior to exercise. Also, ensure that if you are exercising more than 30 minutes or 20 minutes you have your Ventolin midway through.

    The concern is that you're having trouble breathing when you're running. You may be running too quickly, or you may be running when it's cold, so you need to make sure that when you exercise you have your Ventolin two puffs ten minutes before. You also start out very slow and gradually increase your speed as you start to run. This is to ensure that you can run for longer and you can also obviously have less exacerbation.

    The following thing you look at as an exercise physiologist, any exercise that involves lower limbs or upper limbs is important. Because, by strengthening your upper limbs, you actually increase the amount of work that you can do because it helps you breathe a lot better.

    So, any exercises that you can do you need to start slow and gradually build up the intensity over time. The biggest concern with asthma is people start out too quickly in a short period of time, which can actually exacerbate asthma symptoms.

    I also stress that if you start having symptoms during exercise, you must ensure you have your preventer prior. The biggest concern that an exercise physiologist will see with exercise-induced asthma is that the client doesn't use the preventer regularly and under-utilize their Ventolin, which is not the right regime.

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