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Asthma and Sports

Having asthma shouldn't stop you from playing sports. Check out these tips for exercising with asthma.

Exercise-Induced Asthma

  • Asthma is a medical condition which affects a person's breathing system. A person's airway can become swollen and clogged with mucus, causing breathing difficulties.
  • Exercise-induced asthma is a narrowing of a person's airway as a result of strenuous exercise. The symptoms include wheezing, coughing, chest pain and a long period of shortness of breath.
  • Symptoms of exercise-induced asthma sometimes start a few minutes after a person starts exercising and can last for hours afterwards .

Asthma and Sports - Prevention

If you have asthma and sometimes get asthma attacks when you're playing sports, there's a number of things you can do to prevent attacks and keep yourself in the game.

  • If you've been diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma, your doctor might advise you to try taking medication before exercise or strenuous activity. This medication is the same one used for flare-ups and is inhaled directly into the lungs.
  • Exercise is a good way to strengthen your breathing muscles. Getting regular physical activity can help reduce the impact of asthma on your exercise routine.
  • Warm up carefully and slowly before exercising.
  • Cool down for at least 10 minutes after exercise.
  • Don't exercise if you are having asthma symptoms.
  • Bring your inhaler with you while exercising and talk to your coach or P.E. teacher about your asthma. Let them know if you need to take a breather.

Asthma - Recommended Sports

There's no reason for asthma to stop a person from playing sports and staying in shape. But there are some sports which are less likely to cause problems for people with asthma.

  • Indoor swimming is a great activity to improve fitness and strength, and it rarely causes any symptoms of asthma.
  • Other sports that are recommended for people with asthma are gymnastics, football, downhill skiing, baseball, golfing and volleyball.
  • If you have asthma, you should still be able to do more intense activities like basketball, soccer and long distance running. Just remember to slowly build up your fitness level and talk to your doctor about proper medication and training techniques to use.

Athletes With Asthma - Did U Know?

Jerome Bettis of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Olympic swimmer, Amy Van Dyken are two athletes who have overcome their difficulties with asthma and become star athletes.

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