More often than not, those who struggle with asthma find any form of physical activity to be strenuous, including those as simple as walking. Especially during allergy season, when the air is brimming with various irritants that further aggravate your asthma, you will do everything in your power to keep yourself out of situations that will leave you gasping for air.
However, as counterintuitive as it may sound at first, certain forms of exercise, especially when conducted in suitable conditions and with proper guidance, help alleviate symptoms of asthma, improve your overall fitness and allow you to go through the toughest of days with greater control and stamina.
Asthma is characterized by stubborn inflammation of the airways, also known as bronchi, which in time makes them increasingly sensitive to airborne irritants and allergens and impairs your lung function. That’s why even a mild cold or a few minutes in a dusty room can lead to an asthma attack, as any form of bronchi irritation can be a trigger.
Regular physical activity on the other hand, allows your cardio-respiratory system to become much more efficient at using oxygen. That means that your lung capacity might not change, but your lungs will get stronger as a result of consistent effort, and allow more oxygen into the bloodstream, which then gets used better by your muscles. In time, your muscles will need less oxygen to exert the same amount of effort, and you will surpass your initial level of fitness.
Increased level of fitness – reduced symptoms
Although asthma is a lifelong battle, exercise as the staple of a healthy lifestyle can significantly help reduce the symptoms, including shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing and mucus production. While the short-term benefits of exercise are less obvious, when you include some form of challenging physical activity in your weekly schedule, you will improve your stamina and endurance levels progressively.
This leads to your body becoming more resilient to everyday triggers and you will probably not feel “out of breath” simply when climbing the stairs anymore, as your body will have overcome this basic form of strain. In fact, the more you exercise in the right environment and with the right professional guidance, you will have a better outlook to minimize the symptoms drastically over time.
Improved immune function
It’s well-known that regular workouts lead to a healthier body, thus boosting your immune system. We also know that asthma is easily set off by a common cold or a flu infection. Combine these two pieces of information, and you’ll see that the stronger your immune system gets, the less likely you are to catch a cold, which in turn reduces your chances of an asthma attack.
You also need to make sure to structure your life around other healthy habits in order to be able to improve your resilience, such as a nutrient-dense diet, ditching processed foods, smoking, and keeping your living environment clean. You can find the best air purifier, but make sure you check out various reviews at Air Purifier Ratings, before getting one, and you can also use low-maintenance plants as natural air-cleansers in your home, to limit your exposure to pollution and irritants.
It makes sense that frequent asthma issues can make you feel irritated and annoyed at best, while many also suffer from some form of anxiety or even depression. These negative states of mind can be exceptionally difficult to cope with, but in addition to proper emotional support from your friends and family, exercise can do wonders for lifting your spirits.
When you work out, your body is chock-full of the “feel good” hormones, serotonin and dopamine, which help change the chemical patterns in your brain, thus leading to a more positive outlook and overall emotional stability. This is an important factor for those who deal with more severe forms of asthma, as a positive attitude will help you overcome the inevitable setbacks to be as healthy as possible.
With the right trainer by your side to guide you through the process and perseverance to push you through the rough times, you can turn your life around and never feel hindered by your condition. On the contrary, let it be your main drive to overcome your current limitations and let it motivate you on your journey to a stronger, healthier you.
About the Author
Samantha has a B.Sc. in Nutrition, and has spent two years working as a personal trainer. Since then, she has embarked on a mission to conquer the blogosphere. She collects running shoes and is always training for the next 10k - she has so far run 4. You can find her on Twitter, and read more of her work at Ripped.me