In addition to medication, asthma needs to be treated with other tools such as environmental control and lifestyle regulation to improve symptoms and reduce the risk of attacks.
The GINA Guide 2020 encourages regular, moderate physical activity in asthmatics. Here are some common questions asthmatics ask about exercise.
Is exercise good for people with asthma?
The answer is yes.
Regular moderate physical activity in asthmatics has health benefits, including:
· Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease
· Improves the quality of life
· It keeps you energized
· Improves immunity
· Maintain a normal weight
It should be noted that regular physical activity does not confer any particular benefit to lung function or asthma symptoms per se, but improvements in cardiopulmonary function may reduce the risk of developing dyspnea.
Meanwhile, obesity is considered a risk factor for asthma, and studies have shown that losing weight can help improve asthma symptoms.
Aerobic exercise and strength training on top of diet control is more effective at reducing weight and controlling asthma symptoms than diet control alone.
Does exercise cause or aggravate asthma?
Although exercise is beneficial to the health of asthmatics, exercise is also an important cause of asthma symptoms.
Because people during strenuous exercise tend to breathe in large amounts of relatively cold, dry air, which causes the bronchial constriction caused by exercise.
Up to 90% of asthmatics may experience exercise-induced bronchial constriction during intense exercise, which is the most common cause of asthma symptoms in adolescents.
Common symptoms of exercise-induced asthma include wheezing, abnormal shortness of breath, chest tightness or coughing, and one or more symptoms may occur.
Therefore, asthmatic patients should choose exercise programs suitable for their physical conditions, choose indoor environment with controllable conditions as far as possible, and avoid exercise in very cold or severely polluted environment, so as to reduce the occurrence of bronchial contraction.
Exercise is also an important cause of asthma symptoms in children.
Children with poor asthma control often refuse to play games or exercise to avoid asthma symptoms. Parents should encourage children to play games or exercise, which is important for their normal social and physical development.
Therefore, it is important for parents to carefully observe their young children’s daily activities, including their willingness to walk and play, to assess their potential asthma diagnosis.
If asthma symptoms develop during exercise, use a “quick-acting bronchodilator” (such as salbutamol) and the symptoms will immediately ease.
If there is no relief, seek medical attention for other possible causes of symptoms.
How to prevent exercise-induced asthma?
The best approach is to ensure that asthma is well controlled. Patients with asthma should use inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) on a regular basis. When the right medication is used and prepared in advance, most asthmatics can take appropriate physical activity and many will not be restricted.
To prevent bronchoconstriction due to exercise, a good warm-up exercise may be performed prior to exercise, with inhaled salbutamol or budesonidoterol if necessary.
What sports are suitable for asthmatic patients?
There is not enough evidence to suggest which form of exercise is better for people with asthma.
Asthma sufferers can engage in low-intensity, rhythmic aerobic exercise such as walking, jogging, tai chi, swimming and cycling to exercise their breathing and heart function at different intensities.
For example, when you warm up by jogging, jog at an increased intensity for a few minutes, lower the intensity for a few minutes, and then increase it again.
Indoor swimming is also a good exercise because the temperature and humidity in the environment are controllable. Asthmatics can try aerobic exercise by increasing and decreasing their swimming speed. However, exposure to the disinfectants chlorine and trichloramine during swimming may also induce asthma.
It’s important to note that whatever you do, make sure to warm up first, which will reduce the chance of exercise-induced bronchoconstriction.
What’s more, the most important thing is that patients are interested in the exercise they do and can stick to it!
How intense can exercise be?
The amount of exercise should not be too large at one time. It is recommended to do it gradually. The intensity of exercise should be based on feeling good after each exercise and should not be exhausted.
If asthma symptoms occur frequently during an intense exercise program, this may indicate insufficient medication use or that the patient’s asthma symptoms are not suitable for such intense exercise, and you need to talk to your doctor about adjusting your treatment or taking preventive measures.
Do you have to stop jogging if you often feel unwell?
Usually, just getting ready for jogging can improve: First, use bronchodilators like salbutamol about 15 minutes before you start.
Second, warm up properly before going all out for a jog.
Symptoms of asthma develop during exercise
What to do?
Asthmatics should make sure they always have bronchodilators with them and use them immediately if they develop symptoms of asthma during exercise.
If asthma symptoms occur frequently during exercise, seek medical attention and have your doctor choose a more appropriate medication or avoid a specific type of exercise.
When athletes take asthma medication
Can I take part in the competition?
Most commonly prescribed asthma medications are permitted in competitive sports.
In general, inhaled corticosteroids and some bronchodilators are permitted, but corticosteroid tablets, syrups, suppositories, or injections are prohibited.
Athletes with asthma need to consult a doctor or national sports association, especially in international competitions, to ensure that the drugs used do not violate doping regulations.
Athletes need to be certified by a doctor to use asthma medication under certain circumstances.
All in all, people with asthma need to find an exercise program that suits them and interests them, and stick to it for a long time.
Remember to warm up properly before exercise, and have bronchodilators handy!
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