Don’t Let Exercise-Induced Asthma Prevent You from Working Out

Doing regular exercise is one of the best things that you can do for your body. However, if you suffer from exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB), it can be difficult to workout without possibly triggering asthma symptoms including shortness of breath and coughing. According to research, as much as 90% of people who have asthma can experience exercise-induced asthma, during or after a workout.


Symptoms of EIB

This condition happens when the airways tighten or constrict as a result of an inflammation as a response to the physical activity. Symptoms include wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, sore throat, and tightness in the chest. Typically, the symptoms will begin within five to 20 minutes after starting a workout. In addition, this can also flare up five to 15 minutes after a workout ends.

Even when it is normal to feel out of breath when exercising, with EIB, these symptoms are typically more severe. If not treated right away, patients may feel like they are no longer able to catch their breath for 30 minutes or longer. There are also certain environments which may trigger a reaction, such as an overly cold or dry air, areas with air pollution, or a high pollen count.

What Causes EIB?

Whenever you exercise, your body will be forced to breathe faster and deeper due to the increased oxygen demands. Typically, you inhale using your mouth causing the air to become dryer and cooler than when you inhale through your nose. Breathing through your mouth may trigger the airway to narrow. This is also the reason why exercising in the cold and dry air can more likely cause asthma symptoms than exercising in a warm and humid environment. Other factors that may trigger a response are:

  • high pollen counts
  • pollution levels
  • exposure to other irritants, like smoke and fumes
  • a recent cold or asthma episode

Management Tips For EIB

People who experienced EIB can still enjoy exercise and an active lifestyle with proper management. Some of the steps that you can do to reduce chances of having breathing difficulties include:

  • Take medication before exercising.
  • Adopt measures to prevent symptoms, for example, cover your mouth or nose with a scarf when exercising outdoors.
  • Practice proper warm-up before a vigorous exercise.
  • Watch your respiratory status before, during, and after your exercise.
  • If your child suffers from EIB, make sure to let teachers or the school know about it. They can still participate in activities but may need to take medication before every activity.
  • Choose sports that may have fewer trigger effects on exercise-induced asthma, for example, volleyball and gymnastics
  • Avoid sports that are likely to trigger EIB, for instance, those that are performed in cold and dry weather like ice hockey and ice skating.
  • Ask your doctor to recommend an effective bronchodilator that you can take before, during, or after your exercise.

Even when you experience exercise-induced asthma, you will still be able to perform your choice of workout. It helps if you ask your doctor about what things you can do to improve your condition. Carefully planning your workout and taking the right medication will also help you become active again.

Do you or someone you know suffer from exercise-induced asthma?

Posted by uprunforlife

Christy is married to her best friend and has three children. When she isn't writing, she enjoys spending time with her family, playing video games, reading books, or listening to music. She loves to write and help other people to take the focus off of her chronic health problems.

This article has 22 Comments

  1. What great info! For a while my son was experiencing asthmatic signs (it was very scary!) He was diagnosed with seasonal asthma due to very bad allergies, then last year we had surgery (tonsillectomy, adnoidectomy, and thinning of nasal walls) so far so good, we’ll see come spring!
    glad you’re spreading the message that people with asthma can still exercise!

  2. I will have to share this with my friend. She has had asthma for as long as I have known her. It makes it difficult for her to work out.

  3. I was diagnosed with asthma when I was ten years old. I am always so wary of working out too intensely in fear of an attack. Thank you for the reassurance and your great tips!

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this. I do my best to work out, but sometimes, my asthma can make it difficult. This should be a big help for me.

  5. Asthma can be so hard to live with. My Sister has had it her whole life and it can make working out a challenge.

  6. As I am walking on my treadmill desk I was thinking about this, such great information. Thank you for sharing! I had no idea that exercise induced it for me, good to know.

  7. This is some really great information. I don’t have asthma, but I know a few that do. I’ll have to share this info with them.

  8. My sister has asthma. For a while she was overweight because exercise was just too much. I will share these tips with her!

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