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5 Safety Tips For Exercising If You Have Asthma

5 Safety Tips For Exercising If You Have Asthma

People with asthma often face difficulties breathing, coughing, tightness in their chest or wheezing right after they have exercised. 


Exercise is a common trigger for asthma symptoms. However, as long as your asthma is under control, exercising is good to keep your lungs and body in good shape. It can help:

  1. Strengthen your breathing muscles
  2. Boost your immune system, and
  3. Maintain a healthy body weight


The best exercises for people with Asthma are swimming, yoga, and light-to-moderate exercises like biking, walking, and hiking.


How Does Exercise Trigger Asthma Symptoms?


When you exercise, you start breathing from the mouth to compensate for the large volumes of air that your body needs. The cold air we breathe in from our mouths can cause muscles in the airways to become constricted, making it difficult for air to pass through. This can trigger asthma symptoms and lead to a condition called Exercise-induced Bronchospasm or EIB.


Exercise-induced Bronchospasm is characterised by wheezing, tightness of chest, and shortness of breath, typically within 30 minutes of exercising. In such cases, certain precautionary measures must be adopted.


What Are the Symptoms of Exercise-induced Asthma?


Asthma will usually show signs and symptoms within 30 minutes of your exercise routine if you aren’t careful. Watch out for warning signs like :


  1. Tightness of chest
  2. Wheezing or coughing
  3. Low energy levels
  4. Chest congestion
  5. Difficulty breathing
  6. Dizziness

Here are 5 important tips you need to follow to exercise safely when you have  Asthma:

    1. Warm-up first: Warm-up with light exercises before you begin, and cool off for at least 10 minutes after you end. Don’t stop exercising all of a sudden and give your body time to adjust.


    2. Breathe through your nose: Breathing through the nose adds warmth and humidity to the air, which can help reduce asthma symptoms


    3. Wear an anti-pollution mask: Anti-pollution masks or scarves over the nose and mouth in cold weather can help avoid environmental asthma triggers. Find out how to choose the right anti-pollution mask here.


    4. Avoid exercising outdoors: Exercising when pollen counts or pollution levels are high can trigger symptoms of asthma.
    5. Always carry your inhaler: If you experience symptoms like wheezing, difficulty breathing, tightness of chest, low energy levels, chest congestion or dizziness, use your blue inhaler and sit up for a few minutes until you feel better. Here’s how you can manage asthma in case your symptoms don’t subside.




Exercise is important for a healthy lifestyle - even if you have asthma. Try to work out for about 30 minutes, four to five days a week to keep yourself fit and active. Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle may negatively impact on asthma. Therefore, exercise is an important part of a healthy treatment for asthma.


Medanta Medical Team
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