Asthma affects the daily lives of nearly 19 million adults in the United States. Typical asthma symptoms include shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, coughing and wheezing. Physiologically speaking, these symptoms are due to a lack of airflow through the lungs due to triggers—such as allergens, diet, pollution, smoking and weather—that cause inflammation, mucus buildup or narrowing of the airways.
While there is no cure for asthma, various medications—including anti-inflammatory drugs and bronchodilators—can be used to effectively control, relieve and prevent symptoms. If you suffer from asthma, a multidisciplinary treatment plan comprising physical therapy and medication (as directed by your physician) may allow you to achieve one of the main goals of asthma treatment: a normal, healthy lifestyle that includes exercise and physical activity.
Before starting an exercise program, it is important that you become adept at monitoring and responding to your asthma symptoms and understand how your asthma medications work. Once your asthma is properly treated and well controlled, physical therapy can help you enjoy the mental and physical rewards of exercise.
Some types of exercise that are best for people with asthma include activities involving short, intermittent periods of exertion, such as swimming, volleyball, gymnastics, baseball, biking, aerobics and walking.
While activities involving longer periods of exertion (such as soccer, long-distance running and basketball) and cold-weather sports (such as ice hockey, skiing and ice skating) may pose some challenges, we can create an individualized program that will allow you to engage fully in these activities. If sports are not for you, we can design a program that encourages you to work out at an appropriate level. We will also teach you effective warm-up and cool-down routines to help prevent or lessen symptoms that may arise during or after physical activity.
Asthma should not discourage you from exercising. Schedule an appointment to get started on an exercise plan that allows you to enjoy the benefits of exercise without experiencing asthma symptoms.