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Exercise For Asthma Patients

written by: aperson910 • edited by: Cheryl Gabbert • updated: 11/2/2010

This article discusses what asthma is, how it affects your lungs, and how exercise affects asthma. Discusses exercise for asthma patients, as well as what types of exercises trigger attacks.

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    By definition, asthma is a respiratory disorder. It has two main causes. The first is airway constriction. This is caused by tightening of the muscles that surround the airways. The second cause is inflammation or swelling of the airways. No matter which cause is responsible, the symptoms of having an asthma attack are the same. You feel like your throat is closing and it becomes very hard for you to breathe. To get a better idea of how an asthma attack feels, get a drinking straw and try to breathe out of it. However, it could be even harder to breathe if the attack is extremely severe.

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    How Does Exercise Affect Asthma?

    It can be hard for some people with asthma to exercise as it may be a trigger for attacks. However, exercise is a vital part of daily life. For that reason you should fully asses your asthma to determine what type of physical activity is appropriate. You should work with your doctor to first identify what type of asthma you have, then determine what are the best treatment options for you.

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    The Best Type of Exercise

    Any exercise that involves short bursts of activity followed by short rest periods are usually the best type of exercises for asthma patients. Volleyball, wrestling, baseball, and gymnastics are generally tolerated very well by people with asthmatic symptoms. It is thought to be because you do not have to exert your lungs for a continuous period of time while engaging in these sports.

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    Worst Exercises

    Activites that involve prolonged running, jumping, or anything of that nature is generally not tolerated well by people with asthma. Therefore, they should avoid sports like soccer, distance running, basketball or swimming. Again the reason behind this is because these types of exercises place too much stress on the lungs and causes breathing to become complicated.

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    How Much Should I Exercise?

    You should try to get in at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 to 6 days each week. Clear any physical activity with your doctor first to be 100% sure that what you want to engage in will not trigger an attack.