Sports, exercise & asthma? Here’s how to have fun and keep fit.

In one corner… Your asthma, the chronic condition that’s constantly trying to keep you down.

In the other corner… Sports, exercise, teamwork, accomplishment, fresh air and a strong body.

Having asthma shouldn’t keep you from exercise. In fact, regular physical activity may actually help your asthma by improving your breathing.

But which sports are best for people with asthma? And how can you work out safely? 

The Quick Take

Every body (and everybody’s asthma) is unique. So you may need to do a little experimenting to find the sport or activity that’s best for you. 

Many people with asthma find that low-intensity exercises like swimming, biking and hiking are good places to start. Sports that involve short bursts of activity, like baseball and gymnastics, are also good. 

Keep in mind, there are professional athletes and Olympians with asthma. So, with proper medical care, you may be able to play almost any sport. Work with your healthcare provider to determine the best approach.

Want to know more? Read on…

How Exercise Can Help

According to this article at Healthline, “Some types of exercise can reduce or prevent asthma symptoms… because they:

  • Increase endurance. Over time, working out can help your airways build up tolerance to exercise. This makes it easier for your lungs to perform activities that usually make you winded, like walking up stairs.
  • Reduce inflammation. Though asthma inflames the airways, regular exercise may actually decrease inflammation. It works by reducing inflammatory proteins, which may improve how your airways respond to exercise.
  • Improve lung capacity. The more you work out, the more your lungs adjust to activity. This decreases how hard your body must work to breathe on a daily basis

Read more…

That article also has some information on breathing exercises that can help reduce asthma symptoms.

Tips For Exercising Safely

In addition to picking the right sport or activity for you, there are a few things you can do to make sure your exercise routine doesn’t irritate your airways or cause a flare-up. For example…

  • Follow your doctor’s advice. Your healthcare provider may prescribe a daily controller medication and/or an inhaler like albuterol to use before you exercise.
  • Warm up before and cool down after to give your body time to adjust.
  • Breathe through your nose when possible, it helps warm the air you are breathing Breathing through your mouth may be a sign of overexertion and may irritate your throat.
  • Covering your nose and mouth with a scarf during periods of cold, dry weather may help by warming the air before it hits your lungs
  • Take extra care when pollen counts are high if that’s a trigger for your asthma.

Read more…

Here’s more:

Accomplished Athletes Who Have Asthma at Healthline

All About Asthma and Exercise at Healthline

Best Exercises for Asthma: Yoga, Swimming, Biking, and Walking at MedicineNet

What are the best forms of exercise if you have asthma? at Patient.info

How to Choose a Sport for a Child With Asthma at Verywell Family


If you have questions about your health or you’re not feeling well, contact your healthcare provider by phone or visit their website to determine whether you should be seen in-person.

To be notified when our blog is updated with new information about COVID-19, Like our Facebook page.