There isn’t any real evidence to support the myth that asthma sufferers should not exercise, and indeed it is better that they do. In fact, the myth is most commonly propagated as a way of avoiding the discomfort and pain that comes when symptoms arise. But simply avoiding exercise is a short-term solution to a life long problem; although it used to be believed that people could get over asthma, it is now thought, according to the NHS that “the condition may disappear or improve during the teenage years” but that “it can return later in life. Moderate or severe childhood asthma is more likely to persist or return later on.” So how do you approach exercise, and in particular running, as an asthmatic?

Runner in a field of flowers

A 2012 study by The University of Western Australia found that, over the last five Olympic games, asthma has been the most common condition affecting athletes, with around 8% of all them suffering from it. In itself, that statistic should put an end to the myth about not exercising with asthma, but perhaps the best argument comes in the form of the British marathon runner, Paula Radcliffe. Diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma in her teenage years, Radcliffe wasn’t stopped, and in fact she went on to become the world record holder for the fastest marathon, a record that still stands with a time of 2 hours 15 minutes and 25 seconds. It can be difficult, and indeed the marathon is one of the most grueling challenges in sport, but Radcliffe’s domination of the sport is proof that, with the right preparation and monitoring, you can work through your condition.

Medications like inhalers are a vital form of immediate asthma treatment, and making sure that you always have one handy is one of the most important things you can do as an asthma sufferer. Even if a lot of time has passed since your last attack or onset of symptoms it is worth remembering that, as already mentioned, you never fully get rid of the condition. Carrying your inhaler with you, especially when you run, could prevent any sudden and expected symptoms or attacks, and is also a very good preventative measure. If, for example, you know that running is likely to trigger symptoms, use your inhaler before and after your run as a way of limiting any potential attacks.

Aside from medication, it is also worth managing your condition by non-medicinal means. There are a number of things that you can do to manage asthma without having to resort to medication, but it is mostly a case of being prepared. Understanding your condition and having a working knowledge of your personal triggers, as well as the disease as a whole, can mean that you are more prepared and able to deal with it. For example, if you know that you suffer when exposed to pollen then you might want to avoid running anywhere that you will be dealing with it; similarly if you know that you are affected by the cold then take precautions to avoid running too much in low temperatures – switch to an inside track or a treadmill if you feel like this could be a way of preventing cold-onset symptoms.

Having asthma does not mean that you have to miss out on activities, like running, that you enjoy. Olympic athletes, including record holders like Paula Radcliffe, have proved consistently for years that asthma does not have to prevent you from taking part, even at the highest levels. So manage your condition, work hard to live with it safely, and make sure that you’re always prepared to handle it, even if you think you’ve shaken it off. You can find out more about managing asthma whilst exercising at WebMD . Also, check here for a Guide to Long-term Care for Asthma

Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 827 other subscribers.

Follow us on Twitter