Exercise-induced asthma, or exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB), is a condition that manifests when physical exertion leads to the narrowing of airways, making breathing difficult.
This condition often surfaces during or after physical activity and can be exacerbated by exposure to cold, dry air, or air laden with allergens or pollution.
Some common symptoms of EIB include:
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath
- Fatigue during exercise
These symptoms can significantly curtail an individual's capacity to perform and relish regular physical activities.
However, if appropriate precautions and workout adjustments are implemented, people with EIB can lead an active lifestyle.
Consulting with Health Professionals and Developing an Asthma Action Plan
Before embarking on any fitness regime, it is essential to consult with a healthcare provider, ideally a specialty doctor such as a pulmonologist or allergist.
They can conduct various tests to ascertain the condition and assist in formulating an astute asthma action plan.
This plan includes how to prevent attacks, what to do if an attack ensues, and when to seek emergency medical attention.
Warm-ups and Cool-downs Before and After Exercise
An integral step in controlling EIB is incorporating warm-ups before exercise and cool-downs afterward.
These periods of lesser intensity exercise prime the body for the workout and decreases the probability of an asthma attack.
Initiate workout sessions slowly, gradually ramping up the exercise intensity allows the body time to adjust, thereby minimizing chances of triggering an attack.
Monitor the Environment and Choose the Right Type of Exercise
Environmental factors like cold, dry air can spur on asthma symptoms.
Therefore, when working out in colder months, consider wearing a scarf or mask over your mouth and nose to warm the inhaled air.
An alternative strategy is favoring indoor workouts during peak allergy seasons or high pollution days.
Choosing suitable exercises can also lessen the likelihood of inducing an asthma attack.
Sports involving short, intermittent periods of effort such as volleyball, gymnastics, or walking are often more manageable.
Swimming is often an excellent choice given the warm, humid air around indoor pools which can help keep airways open.
Proactive Medication Use and Maintaining Overall Health
In certain cases, pre-exercise medication may be required. Short-acting beta-agonists are commonly used 15-20 minutes before exercising to prevent airway constriction.
Long-term control medication, such as inhaled corticosteroids, can help manage chronic symptoms.
It is essential that these medications are used under the guidance of a healthcare provider.
On top of these specific strategies, maintaining overall health also plays a pivotal role in managing exercise-induced asthma. These include:
- Regularly taking prescribed medications
- Avoiding asthma triggers
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Not smoking
Exercise-induced asthma need not deter those affected from leading an active lifestyle.
With the right strategies, adjustments, and a continual dialogue with your healthcare provider, this condition can be effectively managed.
Stay fit my friend,
Founder & CEO