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Building lung health and Endurance through Exercise

Hi all,
So I had a real win a couple of days ago, which I would like to share with you that have EIA. Briefly, back about a year ago when I was first diagnosed with allergic asthma exerberated by exercise (as well as high pollen counts and dusty conditions), it really threw a spanner in the works of my aspirations of getting fit again after a few years layoff and losing the extra 10 kg, I had put on. Every time I walked too fast, climbed stairs or danced at a function I felt breathless, my chest closed up and I seriously wondered how I could possibly have become so unfit while still maintaining a fairly healthy lifestyle. Fast forward to the middle of lockdown and no organized exercise classes, and our trainer decided to start circuit training on the local country club soccer field while the gyms were closed. Every morning I puffed and panted my way through the hour with just a couple of puffs of my bronchodilator inhaler that I had used intermittently on very bad allergy days for the last few years. Eventually I went to the doctor and was officially diagnosed with asthma, prescribed a maintenance inhaler and given proper instruction on the use of my rescue inhaler before and during exercise. And so I thought my breathless, difficult exercise sessions would be a thing of the past. It very quickly dawned on me (and my trainer), once we were able to get back to the gym, that was not to be, and so began an ongoing rollercoaster of up and down asthma days, hyperventilation episodes and rushing to get me to the doctor and be given oxygen after a half hour spin class. BUT in all these ups and downs, which still frustrate me and make me dispondent at times, and the ongoing support of my trainer, who by now, knows the drill, and slowly slowly my endurance is building up and I can run for 10 km per hour on the treadmill for a minute, after a slow steady warm up, and just this Friday, I maintained through an hour spin class, even managed to do a minute spint cycle, with my trainer standing close by in case I needed her, and when I gave her the thumbs up, I was fine, she and my spin class gave me a round of applause. I have to tell you, it felt so great. So the moral of my story is to just not give up. Surround yourself people who support you and educate them on our condition. Working with an experienced trainer really helps, and I am blessed to have one, and always train with someone if you plan to do a harder workout. Just knowing you have someone who has your back if things go sideways helps to build confidence which goes a long way to helping you achieve your fitness goals.

  1. Wow!!! That is AMAZING ! What an inspiring thing for me to read first thing on a Monday morning. We are so happy about your perseverance and accomplishment, that is certainly something to celebrate. Thank you so much for sharing this, and giving our community something to be inspired by. -Ashlen, Asthma.net community moderator

    1. You are resilient, Jules! Good for you to keep going. So many others would have given up. Those baby steps are will what gets you to where you want to be! I love how supportive your spin class is. Having a warm, supportive environment for exercise really makes all the difference, especially for a newcomer or someone who feels self-conscious. Your trainer sounds wonderful, too! You are so fortunate to have a great network of encouragement around you. Keep going! Proud of you. -Melissa, asthma.net team

      1. I am so glad that my little story was able to encourage you. I probably should take of my own advice as after my triumph of last Friday, I have had a bad asthma week, no doubt, our cold windy rainy weather, probably contributed to it, but each of my workouts have required a fair amount of tenaciousness to keep going. So again, it's all about perseverance and not losing hope, and acceptance that we will probably never be able to reach the peak performance as someone without asthma but we can reach our own peak performance, and that is still good. We start our exercise programs with 'one hand tied before our backs'. I was just saying to a friend of mine that my body feels strong. My legs can keep going, but it's my chest that trips me up. I would like to hear from you all which types of exercises that you handle the best, in a gym setting, including classes you may attend or workouts you do at home or out doors.

        1. It seems like we all have a hard time taking our own advice sometimes. It's ok to have bad days and weeks, I know you know that. While perseverance is good and important to a point, it's also necessary to really listen to your body and take the time to recuperate when needed. Overdoing it can set you back.

          I am not much of an exerciser because of other mobility issues, but I do have a simple aerobic platform that I step on and off of. Sometimes I'll put on a TV show, but most often I'll use a playlist of music that has a moderate, driving beat. I have different tempos on there so that I can both challenge myself and cool down as needed.

          Have you ever thought of a chair workout? They are meant for people with limited mobility, but I wonder if it would be gentle enough to allow you some movement and exercise without triggering asthma on those days where you really aren't feeling it. YouTube has some great free resources, including the group BORP from California. -Melissa, asthma.net team

        2. Thank you, that is definitely something to investigate. I love the idea of a chair workout which I can do in my office or at home on my couch.

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