Asthma affects more than 25 million Americans according to government data. As many as 90% of those will experience exercise-induced asthma during their workouts. It can also affect those who do not usually experience asthma. However, it is a tricky cycle to break. While exercising can improve and strengthen your lungs and all-round health, it can exacerbate your asthma. In turn, leave you feeling lethargic, wheezy or reluctant to exercise. So how can you get ahead of the problem and feel confident about your fitness?
Optimize your environment
It’s estimated that Americans spend around 90% of their time indoors, where some pollutants are found to be 2 to 5 times higher in concentration than they are outdoors. One of the most common perpetrators is airborne mold, often caused by poor ventilation leading to excessive humidity. The American Lung Association recommends keeping humidity levels below 50%, particularly if you experience asthma or are prone to allergies. You can protect and improve your indoor air quality by ensuring that your home is clean and well ventilated. Quickly investigate any leaks or drainage issues to prevent mold spores from colonizing. Any indicators of mold, should not be ignored. Steps should be taken to identify the source and remove the problem.
The same applies to your gym. Find a facility that prioritizes cleanliness and maintenance. For some people, indoor swimming pools are the ideal workout environment. The warmth and short-term humidity can ease their asthma symptoms. Be sure to ask about the center’s cleaning products as some may contain aggravating chemicals.
In order to reduce the chances of exercise-induced asthma, be gentle with your body. Ensure that you are warming up for at least 10 minutes and cool down accurately. This enables your airways to adjust. Studies have shown that warming up improved results in 79% of cases. It will boost your workout as well as helping you to feel better. You should also avoid exposure to harsh environments, such as freezing cold air, when running. If you’re keen to get outside, breathing through a scarf can help to warm the air before it reaches your lungs.
Maximize your asthma meds
It is recommended that you use an inhaler around 15-20 minutes before exercise to prevent airway spasms. It can also be used to relieve any symptoms that occur after your workout. If the problem persists, speak to your health professional, as long term anti-inflammatory medications may be available.
Exercise-induced asthma can feel like a real barrier to your fitness goals. But with careful management, it can be brought under control. Ensure that you’re living and exercising in an environment with good air quality. Also, be kind to your body, and take your medication pragmatically to help your workouts. The more you exercise, the stronger and healthier your lungs should become. And that’s a fitness goal that can really make a difference.
About the author
Jane Sandwood is a professional freelance writer and content manager with over 10 years’ experience across many fields. Her interests are mostly related to fitness and nutrition. Click here for more articles by Jane Sandwood.
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