Running With Asthma: Is It Safe?
The first thing to know is that it is safe to run with asthma. You need to go about it smart and with safety in mind. It would be best if you spoke to your physician before embarking on this new journey. Your doctor should have tips for you to keep you safe when exercising.
The doctor could recommend asthma medications such as an inhaler that can be taken either before exercise or even to carry during your run. Sometimes inhalers used before running do the trick. However, some people do need to have a rescue inhaler on them when they run.
Before you think that means you should not be running, know this: I have coached very talented high school cross country athletes who carried an inhaler on every run.
Having asthma does not necessarily mean you cannot be a strong runner.
What Does It Feel Like to Run With Asthma?
Asthmatics report the following symptoms of asthma: cough, wheeze, shortness of breath or tightness in their chest. In other words, if you have asthma, you might feel these symptoms.
As you get conditioned, you may have these feelings less frequently. However, it is important to know that certain circumstances can make it harder for someone with asthma to run well.
External Factors to Consider
Days with a very high pollen count could be downright dangerous for an asthmatic person to run. Apps such as the weather channel can give you information on the pollen count and other allergens in the air to keep you safe when running. Running and asthma do not have to be dangerous but if the air is full of pollutants, you are best off keeping your run indoors.
Extremely hot or extremely cold weather can also cause problems for people with asthma. Although you might run just fine on a beautiful 50 degrees fall day, once the temperatures dip, you may find yourself struggling.
According to experts, the best time of day for someone with asthma to run is in the morning. If you are a morning person, that will work out great for you.
Precautions can be taken in addition to these. If you run outside during allergy season, take a shower afterward.
When running outdoors in cold air, you can try covering your mouth and nose and see if that helps you.
Can Running Trigger Asthma?
This is a tricky question and I always like to clarify it with athletes. First off, physical activity can trigger an asthma attack in someone who is known to suffer from asthma. However, it is also important to note that someone can find themselves diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma.
In other words, a person who has never had asthma can get a narrowing in their airways that is triggered by the vigorous exercise of running.
Other sports can trigger asthma symptoms, such as swimming or soccer.
What Happens if Exercise-Induced Asthma Is Left Untreated?
Left untreated, exercise-induced asthma can lead to some serious consequences. This can lead to medical problems and derail your workout regimens.
And let’s face it, if you are having chest pain, wheezing or difficulty breathing, that is always something you should take seriously.
How Do I Get Rid of Asthma When Running?
So if you have asthma, you can help alleviate asthma symptoms while running by starting out slowly with your new workout plan and then working your way up to higher mileage and faster paces. Remember to keep in mind any instructions your physician gave to you, such as using an inhaler 15 minutes before a run.
Many people find they have exercise-induced asthma. Can you get rid of that? You can avoid it by limiting the external factors, such as those listed above. You can sometimes avoid having an asthma attack if you don’t run outside in certain temperatures, when the pollen count is high, or in air pollution; air quality is key to avoid asthmatic reactions.
The crazy thing is that running actually alleviates their asthma symptom for some people.
Can Jogging Help Asthma?
If you work hard at running, you can actually increase your lung capacity, improving your asthma symptoms.
Strengthening lungs and reducing inflammation in the lungs can result in fewer asthma flare-ups. You don’t outgrow your asthma, but your symptoms can certainly lessen.
How Can I Increase My Lung Capacity for Running With Asthma?
As people figure out how to run with asthma, they often end up increasing lung capacity and lung function in general. Regular exercise can decrease the inflammation of airways that people with asthma have. Working out regularly helps you work your lungs in ways that increase the lungs’ ability to consume oxygen.
Building your fitness will help your body in many ways, including making many athletes’ asthma symptoms lessen considerably.
Is It Asthma, or Am I Just Unfit?
People who are terribly out of shape and try to get into running may find themselves wondering if their symptoms point to asthma. One of the biggest indicators of asthma that you won’ likely get if you are just unfit is coughing spells.
Suppose you are just unfit and struggling with the cardiovascular and pulmonary aspects of running. In that case, you may feel chest tightness and may cough a touch, but that will quickly subside if your problem is you are out of shape rather than experiencing an asthma attack.
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