Tips for the Athlete With Asthma

Everyone needs to breathe, but If you’re an athlete (or you spend lots of time in intense physical activity) you know how important being able to breathe properly can be in competition or even in training. This can make the wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness associated with asthma difficult to manage as an athlete (also referred to as exercise-induced bronchoconstriction). 

People with asthma experience narrow airways during an attack, which can produce extra mucus and make breathing more difficult. Over 10% of the population and about 90% of people diagnosed with this condition deal with exercise-induced asthma. But, not only is it possible to manage this condition and thrive in sports, but many star athletes have made careers overcoming this condition. Let's look at some tips on how to manage your asthma and still stay active.

Asthma can be a problem as an athlete, but it doesn’t have to be. Athletes in the Bakersfield, California, area dealing with asthma have Dr. Yadwinder Kang and 1st Choice Urgent Care as a choice to manage their treatment. Our dedicated team has a wide range of diagnostic tests and treatments at our disposal to give you the help you need. 

Here are some tips on dealing with asthma and still staying active:

Use your medications

This may seem obvious, but using your inhaler (also known as a bronchodilator) 15-20 minutes before starting can help your workouts go a lot easier. Using a short-acting beta-2 agonist can help relax the muscles lining your airways to increase airflow and make breathing easier. It can also be helpful to carry an inhaler with you, just in case.

Avoid exercising outside in cold temperatures

Cold and dry air can contribute to asthma attacks, so when exercising in the colder months, use indoor gyms and swimming pools. The best days for outside exercise with asthma are rainy, wet, warm, and windless.

Protect your face

Wearing a scarf or mask can help warm the air as your breathing intensifies, and will reduce your exposure to pollen and other pollutants that can start an attack. If you find yourself outside during the cold, wearing protection for your face can reduce the risk of attacks, but staying indoors while exercising is still preferable.

Don’t exercise when you’re ill

This is especially important if you're sick with a condition that affects your breathing, like colds, flu, and other upper respiratory conditions. Make sure you’re completely recovered from any illness before getting back into an intense exercise regimen.

Gradually start and stop exercising

Don’t just rush into the intense workouts, and don’t just suddenly stop when you’re finished. Instead, get in 10 minutes of warm-up and cool down exercises to gradually transition in and out of your exercise regimen. This works to help your body adjust as you exercise.

Being able to stay active with asthma can work with a combination of avoiding air irritants, using your inhalers properly, and exercising in the right conditions. If you’re dealing with asthma and you’re having problems with exercise, make an appointment with Dr. Kang and 1st Choice Urgent Care today.

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