Good Exercises for Asthmatics

Kathryn Vera
Woman swimming in pool

While individuals living with asthma were once cautioned away from participation in an exercise program, this is no longer the case - in fact, asthmatics are not only allowed, but encouraged, to engage in physical activity. For optimal results, individuals who have been diagnosed with asthma should select exercises that are unlikely to trigger an asthmatic attack.

Walking

Walking is an excellent form of exercise for individuals who suffer from asthma, reports Health. According to a 2012 study titled "Feasibility of exercising adults with asthma: A randomized pilot study," asthmatics who walked at a moderate to brisk pace for 30 minutes, three times a week for three months not only improved their fitness level, but were also less likely to experience an asthmatic attack.

For optimal results while walking, Health encourages asthmatics to incorporate a five-minute warm-up and cool-down in their exercise routine. Warm-ups help asthmatics increase exercise tolerance and can make it easier to complete a workout.

Yoga

Asthmatics may also benefit from participation in a yoga program, reports Health. Improvements in breathing and lung control may occur after starting a yoga program. These improvements likely occur as a result of greater activation of different parts of the lungs, notes Health.

Asthmatics who engage in yoga may not only notice improvements in breathing and lung control, but may also be less dependent on prescription medications. In "Clinical Study of Yoga Techniques in University Students with Asthma: A Controlled Study" researchers found that asthmatics who engaged in hatha yoga, (a specific type of low-intensity yoga that focuses on breathing and relaxation) three times a week for 16 weeks were able to decrease their use of asthma medications.

Swimming

WebMD identifies swimming as another great exercise for individuals who suffer from asthma. As with other endurance sports, swimming promotes improvements in physical fitness - a must for those who suffer from asthma. Since swimming generally occurs in environments where air temperatures are warm and moist, it is less likely to trigger an asthmatic attack, reports WebMD.

To maintain safety while swimming, asthmatics should be sure to start with a warm-up and end your workout with a cool-down. Outdoor swimming should be avoided when pollen counts or air pollution is high, as this may lead to an asthmatic attack.

Golfing

Golfing is not only good for the mind, but also the body -- especially if you suffer from asthma. WebMD reports that exercises which involve short bursts of exertion, such as swinging a golf club, are generally well-tolerated by asthmatics.

While individuals with mild cases of asthma may be able to walk the course, those who are more debilitated by the condition should consider riding a cart from hole to hole. As with swimming, avoiding the sport altogether on days when pollen counts are high may be useful when it comes to preventing the development of an asthma attack.

Baseball

Baseball may be one of the safer forms of exercise for adults or children who suffer from asthma. In Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription (page 313), the American College of Sports Medicine notes that the stop-and-start nature of baseball is fairly unlikely to trigger an asthmatic attack.

Asthmatics who are interested in playing baseball may want to opt for a position that requires less mobility, such as catcher, pitcher, or first baseman. Consider the use of a pinch-runner, recommends the American College of Sports Medicine, to maximize safety while playing this sport.

Biking

Leisure biking is identified by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology as a safe choice for those who suffer from asthma. According to Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription (page 314), leisure biking is that which is done at a fairly low to moderate pace, and incorporates plenty of break periods.

To ensure you are keeping your bike ride at a moderate pace, incorporate the use of the "talk test" - a tool that is used to help exercisers determine how hard they are working. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that if you can talk, but not sing, during a bike ride, you are likely working at a moderate intensity. Asthmatics who can only say a few words before pausing to take a breath while riding a bike are likely working too hard, notes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Riding on a flat, well-paved surface can be helpful when it comes to intensity in check. Asthmatics may also want to avoid riding their bikes in hilly areas and in humid climates, notes the American College of Sports Medicine, to help keep exercise intensity in a moderate zone.

Get Fit

There are a number of options available for asthmatics who are interested in starting an exercise routine. In addition to selecting appropriate types of exercise, performing them properly and in a safe intensity range is a must.

Those who have questions about the safety of a specific type of exercise may want to consult with their primary healthcare provider. An experienced exercise physiologist can also prove invaluable when it comes to the development of a workout plan for asthmatics.

Good Exercises for Asthmatics