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Exercise For Asthmatics

Posted by Mark Bubak, M.D. on May 3, 2017 4:35:30 PM
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Just saying the word "exercise" makes you think of needing more air.  Imagine if you were one of the millions who, each day, actually needed more air before they even started any form of exercise.  Who would even start an exercise program feeling like that? 

Unfortunately, this is a common cycle for many children with asthma.  They start thinking that being sedentary is the “ok” and “normal” way to be.  They sit and watch the games their friends are playing.  They make up reasons to pause or stop any physical activities they might be doing.  The list goes on and on until it is just part of the way they are then it goes on throughout their entire life.

As parents, we want to keep our kids safe.  There is a balance we want to keep between letting them play and have fun and holding them back when they need a break.  But when you are a parent of an asthmatic child, the asthma is always there.  Not to mention the medication’s side effects, it’s high cost, and all the time it takes to do the prevention program?  You only have so much time in your day.  Then your child fights having to stop their video game or movie to take their medication.  You might even find yourself wondering, "Is the asthma so bad?"  Then this cycle repeats over and over and over again.

So let's get real about dealing with asthma.  For virtually all patients, asthma is controllable.

What does that say about exercise?  An asthmatic should have the ability to exercise fully, just like everyone else!  The exercise itself doesn’t help, hurt, or change to the underlying degree of asthma.  Unfortunately, we won’t cure asthma with exercise.  The reality is that exercise (just like viruses, cold air, allergens, irritant fumes, etc.) is just another trigger that makes asthma more symptomatic.

Exercise is a must for everyone.  In can benefit every person in so many ways.  We are happier, healthier, and more engaged in our world.  It is and should be, for everyone.

So the question remains, how do we get the asthmatic to be the exerciser, the athlete, and part of the gang?  We control the asthma.

The controller program for asthma is critical to successfully controlling asthma.  There may be daily medication, specific allergen avoidances, and maybe even allergy shots.  A bronchodilator, such as albuterol, will often be used before the exercise to help keep the bronchial muscles from spasming.  Albuterol will be available in case of symptoms during exercise.  Then gradually, the asthmatic gets in better and better physical condition and the stress to flare up the asthma gets less and less.  They have fun and experience success!

Working with your Allergist is a great way to achieve this success!  Together we can get moving again!

Topics: asthma, managing my asthma, asthma triggers, exercise