Asthmatics should not be restricted from running, although a number of precautions should be taken before going out to exercise.
How many times have we heard that “you can’t run because you’re asthmatic”? There are parents and educators who limit children’s physical exercise because they suffer from asthma and adults who believe that because they suffer from it they cannot exercise. Not only is this statement untrue, but regular aerobic exercise is beneficial for asthmatics and allows them to gain better levels of control with less medication. Even children with asthma who exercise in childhood and adolescence achieve higher levels of lung capacity than those who do not.
This false belief probably stems from the fact that the asthmatic patient may, at times, perceive an increase in symptoms during exercise, especially if it is of high intensity, such as ‘running’. Another possible cause is that you are not well controlled, have a flare-up or suffer from a variety of asthma called ‘exercise-induced’ or ‘exercise-triggered’ asthma.
Running, the great obsession.
Asthma is a chronic disease characterized by an increased response of the bronchi to certain substances – allergens such as mites or pollens; certain inhaled irritants, including tobacco; or situations such as cold air or physical exercise. The bronchus swells and narrows, causing difficulty in breathing, coughing, breathing noises, etc. An asthmatic may suffer increased symptoms during or after exercise because the disease is not well controlled. This is what we call ‘exercise-triggered asthma’. In the latter situation, symptoms associated with physical effort only occur, and very often after exercise.
Asthmatics should not be limited to running, although a series of precautions should be taken before going out for a run to avoid the risk of having symptoms associated with exercise and to be able to benefit from the positive aspects of sport on your illness and health in general.
The recommendations are as follows:
1.- Have good control of your asthma. It is important to be assessed by a specialist to determine the level of control of your disease, the intensity of exercise you can do and the treatment you need. In addition, you should instruct him/her on the symptoms that lead to poor control, crises and how to manage them.
Do not go running if you are poorly controlled or in the middle of a crisis.
3.- Whenever you go for a run, take your rescue medication with you.
3.- Acquire physical shape gradually, increasing the intensity of the effort in a progressive way, so as to avoid the appearance of symptoms.
4.- It is very important to warm up before starting the exercise. It has been shown to prevent exercise-induced asthma.
5.- Avoid cold air entering directly into the airway. Cover your mouth with a scarf.
Having said that, remember not to take advice from unprepared people and remember that… there are no excuses for doing sport!