Exercise, Allergies and Asthma

Now that spring is here and blossoms are starting to bloom some people may be experiencing a runny nose, coughing, shortness of breath or wheezing when going outdoors and engaging in activity. Allergies or exercise induced asthma can be annoying for people that have these conditions. It can even dissuade a person from wanting to exercise but this does not have to be the case.  There are ways to cope with allergies and asthma and still have a good workout.  It is important to follow the advice of a doctor and use any prescribed medications if needed.  This will help to alleviate symptoms experienced during exercise. 

Some tips for exercising is to try and exercise indoors in a well ventilated area that is free of mold and dust as this will minimize triggers.  If exercise must be done outdoors, it is best to wait until the afternoon when it is warmer outside as the cold morning air can cause symptoms.  Sometimes wearing a mask or scarf over the mouth and nose can help if one chooses to exercise in the morning. 

Please choose exercises that slowly warm up the body such as walking or riding a bike at a moderate pace for at least 15 minutes.  This extended warm up period will allow the lungs to accommodate the faster rate of breathing when the workout intensifies. Keeping properly hydrated before, during and after exercise will greatly help to thin the mucus and reduce blockage of bronchiole tubes.  Exercising for short bursts of intensity is more favorable over long high intensity exercise since it gives the lungs a chance to recuperate. It always good to check the rate of perceived exertion on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being comfortable breathing and not feeling any tightness in chest and being able to carrying on a conversation and 10 being too hard to talk or breathe.  An extended cool down period will also help to bring respiration to normal. 

Diaphragmatic breathing has also been shown to help people with asthma.  This is done by inhaling deeply through the nose and allowing the tummy to rise.  Place 1 hand on the tummy and 1 hand on the chest to verify that the tummy is rising and not the chest.  Exhale through the mouth with pursed lips allowing the tummy to fall.  Do this slowly to a count of 10 for 5 repetitions. 

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