Asthma Friendly Sporting Activities – Advice from the Doctors at South Tampa Immediate Care
Sporting activities are a great way to keep active, which can immeasurably benefit your overall health and well-being, both physically and mentally. If you have asthma, you might find yourself curtailing your participation and limiting your activities in an effort to avoid troublesome symptoms. Understanding the causes of your symptoms, and how to manage them when they occur, is the first step toward a healthier you.
Exercise can often trigger asthma symptoms. Here’s why: When you breathe normally, the air you inhale flows through your nasal passages, where it is warmed and moistened prior to entering your lungs. During any form of physical exertion, you naturally tend to breathe through your mouth, so the air that enters your lungs is colder and drier. The bands of muscle that surround your airways are sensitive to lower temperatures and humidity levels, and in response to such exposure they contract. This muscle contraction narrows your airways, which can create symptoms like:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightening
- Excessive fatigue
To avert exercise-induced asthma symptoms, you needn’t avoid all physical activity. In fact, many athletes – including professionals and Olympians – perform and compete with asthma. The key is taking proper steps to prevent and manage your symptoms. Of course, you should always consult with a physician prior to beginning any fitness regimen. Let your doctor know which sports and physical activities you would like to participate in, and discuss the symptoms you normally experience during exercise. Together, you can develop a plan to help keep you active and symptom-free.
For participants who have asthma, some sporting activities are better tolerated than others. Here are some general guidelines that you can discuss with your physician:
- You might want to try activities that involve short, intermittent periods of exertion, such as walking, gymnastics, volleyball, baseball, and wrestling. Indoor swimming, which is performed in a warm, moist environment, is also a good choice.
- Sports that require long periods of exertion, such as running, basketball, soccer, and field hockey, and cold-weather activities like cross-country skiing, ice skating, and ice hockey, are more likely to produce or aggravate asthma symptoms.
- You should use your prescribed medications prior to engaging in any physical activity.
- Always perform proper warm-up and cool-down exercises.
- If the weather is cold or dry, or the pollen count is high, exercise indoors or cover your nose and mouth with a scarf or mask.
- Always exercise at a level that is appropriate for you.
An active lifestyle is essential to your overall health and well-being. With proper diagnosis and treatment of your asthma, you should be able to enjoy the benefits of exercise without being sidelined by your symptoms.
For more health and safety tips, please consult our online series of articles, or feel free to stop by South Tampa Immediate Care. Our walk-in clinic is conveniently located on South Howard Avenue in Tampa, FL, and we welcome patients from Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and the surrounding Florida areas.