Asthma and exercise isn’t one of the best combinations – just ask asthma sufferers. Physical conditioning and a healthy lifestyle do go hand in hand however, and they’re also essential in minimizing the asthmatic symptoms of asthma and other breathing conditions.
Asthmatics don’t have it easy when it comes to exercise, as most sports are inconvenient and high intensity. Swimming is often recommended to asthma sufferers to try and regulate asthmatic symptoms, but not everyone has access to a swimming pool all year round.
Although panting and wheezing are the most problematic effects of asthma, equipment such as treadmills or brief walking paths around your local park are always a great option to get your heart rate up. Here are some top tips on how to cope with asthma while jogging.
Tip 1 – Make sure that you warm up your lungs as well as your body. Before running a race, athletes make sure they stretch and warm up their legs, even going for a light jog before they knuckle down to start. It’s exactly the same for the lungs, and you wouldn’t want to go from stationary to sprinting without getting your lungs used to the airflow. Start out with a soft jog, and then work your way up to regular pace. If your chest starts to get a bit tight, slow all the way down and find the right gear for your body.
Tip 2 – Stress, anxiety and frustration can trigger an asthma attack, so make sure you’re completely relaxed when running. Breathing is the most important element when running, and focusing all your attention on your lungs instead of your speed will benefit you undoubtedly. The longer you run, the more relaxed you’ll find yourself, so don’t give up if you start to feel insecure.
Tip 3 – Practice your breathing, taking deep inhalations at regular intervals to regulate your oxygen intake. Not only will practicing your breathing techniques help to slow down an asthma attack, but it can even prevent one. Never hold your breath or breathe too slowly – your lungs will need a constant intake of air to regulate the oxygen distribution around the body, and the last thing you’ll want to feel is lightheaded!
Tip 4 – Always make sure you have your inhaler to hand when you’re jogging, whether you have to fit it down your sock or strap it to your arm. Your heart rate can spike at any time when out jogging, and your inhaler will help you with your breathing.
Tip 5 – Maintaining a good posture is essential when jogging, and always make sure to avoid bending over. Not only will this limit the flow of oxygen to your lungs, but a rush of blood to the head could make you pass out – this tip also applies to running machines!
Tip 6 – If you feel your lungs contracting, raise your arms over your head. Not only will this open up your airways allowing more oxygen to reach your blood, but it will also give you a chance to stretch and take a breather.