Exercising With Asthma

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Asthma is a chronic respiratory disorder, which creates variable obstruction to airflow, chronic inflammation of the airway, and elevated bronchial reaction to various triggers. These triggers can be allergens, stress environmental factors, genetic factors, or exercise. Asthma can be an almost constant presence for some; others may experience an episode only in the face of one or more of these triggers.

Although aerobic exercise, or cardio, can itself bring on an asthmatic episode, called exercise-induced asthma (EIA), generally exercise can help control how often and how harsh the attacks are. Asthmatics who engage in cardio activity two or three times a week, for around half an hour each time, will likely show improvements in their oxygen consumption, heart rate, and ventilation. There seems to be little proof that exercise makes asthma worse, or that sufferers should avoid exercise.
EIA usually occurs within around 15 minutes after the workout is finished, and the indicators include chest pain, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, or a combination of any of these. Almost all asthmatics will experience EIA at one time or another. If the EIA is well controlled, the asthmatic will usually see good improvement in his fitness level.

If you have asthma, it’s important to recognize that you will have episodes from time to time that will affect your capacity to work out. You also need to monitor your exercise intensity to establish the level of breathlessness and at what intensity it comes on. The Borg CR-10 scale can help you to understand this.

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