If you have asthma, walking might be able to help improve your condition. That may seem counter-intuitive given that exercise can make your breathing worse if you have asthma.
Experts such as the American Lung Association say low-intensity physical exercise helps to improve your lung capacity. This is necessary for people living with asthma.
Whilst exercise can induce the symptoms of asthma, don’t let your condition hold you back from exercising. A lack of exercise could be more detrimental to other areas of your health.
Providing you manage your symptoms and take precautions whilst exercising, you can participate in a wide range of physical activities such as walking, aerobics, cycling.
How Does Walking Improve Asthma?
Researchers have found that light to moderate exercise such as walking improves your breathing because it helps to increase your lung capacity. Getting more oxygen into your lungs also promotes relaxation.
A study involving 695 people concluded that asthma-safe exercises can enhance your quality of life.
Low-intensity activities that increase your heart rate a little – such as walking – are recommended. Asthma UK explains that increasing your heart rate can help improve asthma symptoms by:
- Boosting lung power and increasing stamina
- It supports your immune system
- Enables you to manage your weight
- Releases brain chemicals that reduce stress and promote wellbeing
The best form of exercise for asthma suffers actually involve a brief burst of exertion. For example, if you’re walking at a steady pace, throw in a few 30-second bursts of brisk walking.
However, the type of exercise you choose to do will be determined by the severity of your asthma. It’s advisable to consult with your doctor before engaging in anything other than light exercise.
Health experts also suggest only walking outside if the weather is amenable. Warm weather is better for asthma. Cool and dry weather can trigger asthma. If the climate is mostly cold where you live, you may want to consider investing in a treadmill.
Exercising Safely With Asthma
If you’ve noticed that your asthma symptoms worsen whilst exercising, make sure to take sensible le precautions. Use your reliever-inhaler at least 30-minutes before you start and take it with you.
Performing some warm-up exercises is advisable also. This helps you to build your breathing up gradually. Also, combine warm-up exercises with breathing exercises to help reduce asthma symptoms.
Breathing exercises open up the airways and move fresh air into the lungs. Start with pursed-lip breathing – in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Then move on to diaphragm breathing. This involves taking deeper breaths until you feel your belly swell.
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