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Study Finds That Daily Exercise Relieves Asthma Symptoms

Physical activity has been shown to offer various health benefits for patients with , especially in children. However, there is still limited data on the nature of the association  and control in adults.

Results from a recent study published in the a team of researchers found that asthma patients who engaged in optimal levels of physical activity on a regular basis were nearly two-and-a-half times more likely to have good control of their symptoms compared to those who didn’t exercise.

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  • Former Member

    I know I feel and breathe better when I'm able to exercise regularly.  Looking forward to getting back to cardio in January.

  • Breatheeasy

    Someone with severe asthma told me that exercise is the only thing that helps. He gets a lot of meds but nothing helps him except for a good walk. 

    I have to get back to exercising soon.

  • LK
    Breatheeasy posted:

    Someone with severe asthma told me that exercise is the only thing that helps. He gets a lot of meds but nothing helps him except for a good walk. 

    I have to get back to exercising soon.

    BreatheEasy,  I totally agree that exercise is very important for all of us.  Just a few thoughts to consider – Since everyone's asthma is different what is good for one person may not be the exact thing another person needs so always check with your doctor before starting anything new.  I would also suggest not exercising alone until you know how it will affect your asthma.  

    For me, I would love to take a good long walk like I used to be able to do but at this point my lungs are way to sensitive to get out and do that.  The number of triggers (car exhaust, cold air, etc.) I would encounter, not to mention being out of shape, would make a walk not a joy but a trial.  I try to walk inside our house on my good days.  Starting out with just a very few minutes several times a day.  Sometimes it feels like I am not making any progress but I am getting there ever so slowly!  The hardest part is to not compare where I am at with where others are at or where I was before asthma or even before this current flare.  Easier said than done, I know!

    Hope you are able to get back to exercising soon!  

  • Breatheeasy

    I have trouble exercising because of how weak I have gotten. I can only walk. And most days exercise gives me shortness of breath. Walking is the only sort of exercise I do too. Apart from running behind my 5 year old hyperactive daughter. I guess she gIves me all the exercise I need. And then a flare that has me down for a few days. 

  • LK

    I only walk, also.  Even walking a few minutes and I am the same way – coughing and short of breath.  Some days are a little better and some days worse.  I have learned from all the kind folks here on these forums that we have to take one day at a time and their support is invaluable.

    We have a grandson about that age and I get to babysit him for a few hours sometimes. They are in constant motion learning about the world at that age!  That is about all I can take before I am coughing and short of breath.  Just want to sit and rest.  It's not just the constant keeping up this him, it's also the extra talking that wears me out.  

    It is understandable that you are worn out!

  • Kathy P

    I've discovered strength training. I found someone I like on YouTube. Since I can't bike right now, this has become my go to. 

    I use light weights – she's using 10lb and I'm using 2-3 lb. Some of the routines are too strenuous, but I can skip a rep or modify. I like that I can do it inside in a controlled environment and not contend with outdoor triggers. And some are pretty short – like 15-25 min. 

  • K8sMom2002

    Breatheeasy, I love Lisa's suggestion about starting off by talking to your doc! Your doc may have specific advice for you — mine, for instance, says that I can't do strenuous exercise without pre-treating and I don't need to exercise when I'm alone. 

    And don't knock the "only walking." Starting anywhere is a good thing! 

    Can you talk to your doctor about a good pulmonary rehab plan that will help you start back toward your baseline? After a severe asthma exacerbation, it can take time for your lungs to get strong again. Your doctor can give you good guidelines on what to expect and when to come back to talk if you don't improve in the time your doctor expects. 

  • LK

    Last year I was doing physical therapy for a lower back problem and it was interesting how the PT would say to start out with three sets of fifteen reps for such-and-such new exercise.  Not sure if it was because of my asthma (he was very accommodating about me stopping anytime I needed to) or my age    but that many reps of any new exercise were almost always way too many.  At that time I was in pretty good shape though.  He is a young PT and I think he would just tell me the standard number.  

    Kathy,  I like the idea of being in a trigger-controlled environment!  How is your wrist?

  • Kathy P

    Ive had similar experience with PT where the number of sets/reps was a challenge. But I guess that's the point – it can't be too easy. 

    I found the strength training when I was trying to rebuild the muscle in my arm after the wrist break in June. The surgery to take the plate out was Tuesday. It's doing ok, but I can't even use my fingers yet. Still working through the initial recovery and antsy to get to the rebuilding phase!

  • LK

    True, Kathy!     Guess it's just hard on the ego getting older!  

    Glad you are done with the surgery and it's doing okay.  That is a challenge when you are not able to use your fingers.  I had carpal tunnel surgery on both wrists just a few weeks apart several years ago and patience is the hardest part!  Wishing you tons of Good Luck!

  • Pljohns

    Exercise is good all the way around, but it's like a double edge sword-we need it but often don't have the air to do it.  I've taken the attitude that anything is better than nothing and if I don't hit my step count then it's OK-at least i got some of it in.

    Hope your arm heals quickly kathy!

  • Melissa G

    Breatheeasy, my youngest daughter Bekah loves yoga. She tries to do Yoga every morning when she gets up.

  • Dar007

    Just renewed my gym membership. Am at the movies is afternoon (I got a day off!!!), and was thinking asking a question here that touches on this subject. Does anyone know how to tell if you are having an asthma issue, or if you are experiencing something because you are out of shape? What is the difference? I’m a little scared going back to the gym because the last two classes I took last year, I really had a bad asthma attack (didn’t know it was that at the time. I pressed on thinking I just had to walk it off and I continued the class. I ended up fainting in the change room. Doctors at the ER said it was my asthma. I was sure it was just me being out of shape.). It was so scary. I tend to push myself in everything I do. lol 

  • Wheezy Me

    Kathy, thank you for posting about this research! I believe exercise is truly one of the best medicines… for pretty much anything.

    I don't feel any direct improvement in my asthma related to exercise, but I do feel much better in general, and also feel more "in charge" of my asthma knowing it does not prevent me from getting in better shape.

    When my asthma came back several years ago, at first I struggled with doing the same types of exercise that I used to. Then I learnt it was a matter of finding what works for me from all the types out there. Indoor exercises, for example, are easier for me, as my airways are sensitive to cold weather. When I choose an outdoor activity, shorter bursts of energy are easier to handle than prolonged ones, and I pre-medicate with ventolin.

    Drinking a lot of water before and during exercise also helps me, because the air I inhale feels less dry.

    Breatheeasy posted:

    Walking is the only sort of exercise I do too. Apart from running behind my 5 year old hyperactive daughter. I guess she gIves me all the exercise I need. 

    Breatheeasy, walking and running are definitely exercise in my book!

  • Kathy P

    DAR007 – that's a really good question and a discussion I've had with my doctor. I have "regular" asthma, exercise induced asthma (EIA) and I'm lacking in endurance. It can be hard to sort out what's what – asthma vs cardio endurance. 

    I had to start by getting my asthma under better control and knowing when it isn't. Then getting a good pretreatment plan to keep the EIA from triggering. I have to start slowly and build up slowly with any type of exercise. Warming up us important! As well as not pushing it too hard. For example, I'm the slowest to climb any hill, but I know I've made progress because I didn't used to be able to make it up the hill at all! 

    AAFA's #TackleAsthma Playbook has great tips –

  • Dar007

    Thanks Kathy! Exercise is also a trigger of mine but I agree with everyone with the staying active helps a lot. Awesome advice. Those classes at the gym are hard because I am trying to keep up with the people around me (who are in pretty great shape). That will be me someday! But I think the last two classes I took, I went too hard too fast. I went often other times and had no problem. Going to see my GP next week for refills and will bring it up. 

  • Breatheeasy
    Melissa G posted:

    Breatheeasy, my youngest daughter Bekah loves yoga. She tries to do Yoga every morning when she gets up

    Good for Bekah! Yoga is fun. 

    I am a certified yoga teacher and have been yogaing all my life. I taught before the whole asthma thing came into the picture. I quit teaching long ago though like about 3 years ago. Then asthma was diagnosed last year after I took up a strenuous desk job. Before that I was a community nutritionist and was always out in the fields for research which was great exercise. Now there’s so much fatigue. I tire out after an hour or 2 of being out doing anything(even just sitting out). And start having shortness of breath just like that. Hopefully it gets better with yoga. 

  • Breatheeasy
    Melissa G posted:

    I hope your stamina increases too! 

    I have always had bad stamina because of asthma although I got the exercise. But I didn’t know that before the diagnosis. So I’m hoping I can do something about it now. I taught yoga part time and was super tired from it by the end of the day. None of the other teachers were like that. But yeah it’s fun. 

  • Breatheeasy
    Wheezy Me posted:

    Kathy, thank you for posting about this research! I believe exercise is truly one of the best medicines… for pretty much anything.

    I don't feel any direct improvement in my asthma related to exercise, but I do feel much better in general, and also feel more "in charge" of my asthma knowing it does not prevent me from getting in better shape.

    When my asthma came back several years ago, at first I struggled with doing the same types of exercise that I used to. Then I learnt it was a matter of finding what works for me from all the types out there. Indoor exercises, for example, are easier for me, as my airways are sensitive to cold weather. When I choose an outdoor activity, shorter bursts of energy are easier to handle than prolonged ones, and I pre-medicate with ventolin.

    Drinking a lot of water before and during exercise also helps me, because the air I inhale feels less dry.

    Breatheeasy posted:

    Walking is the only sort of exercise I do too. Apart from running behind my 5 year old hyperactive daughter. I guess she gIves me all the exercise I need. 

    Breatheeasy, walking and running are definitely exercise in my book!

    They certainly are I feel so good and even see an increase in stamina when I walk regularly.