27 Benefits Of Exercising With Asthma

One of the greatest ironies of having asthma is that most of us have Exercise Induced Asthma (EIA). Some of us spend lots of time indoors to avoid outdoor allergens. Some of us have poorly controlled or severe asthma. Yet, we’re all told that we need to exercise anyway. What’s the deal?

Well, the deal is that asthma can lead to a sedentary lifestyle

Rather than staying physically active, we might sit around inside. We might stay home rather than going to school or work. We read books rather than playing sports. We might spend our days watching TV or surfing the net. We read. We write. We spend extra time indoors to avoid outdoor asthma triggers. We avoid cleaning due to dust mites and mold spores.

Surely there are some advantages to living this way. For me, it resulted in what I’m doing right now: writing. It made me a writer. My brothers went with dad to haul wood. They went camping. I stayed home and read books. I wrote. I became studious.

But, too much sedentary living is not good

As I got older, I sat around eating too much. I drank beer! Gained weight. I became less tolerant to exercise. Then I sat around even more. My asthma got worse. I felt sluggish. I felt winded when climbing stairs. It affected my mood and my energy level. It made my asthma control worse. It made it harder to control my asthma. It busted my confidence. Need I go on?

Then one day when I was 28 my friends invited me to the gym. There were seven of us. I had no interest in lifting weights and riding exercise bikes. I had no interest in treadmills. But, I decided to go anyway. That was 20 years ago. My friends quit after only a few months. I am still going strong. Why? Because of the benefits.

So, what are the benefits of staying physically active?

 
The benefits of exercising, or at least staying physically active, are overwhelming. It seems every week I’m reading about some new benefit. Here is just a small list.

  1. Strengthens your heart
  2. Strengthens your lungs
  3. Improves your immune system
  4. Makes you more tolerant to exercise
  5. Reduces airway inflammation
  6. Improves lung function
  7. Improves your asthma control (when used as an adjunct with controller medicines)
  8. Improves your mood
  9. Decreases feelings of depression.
  10. Increases your energy
  11. Helps you control your weight
  12. Reduces the risk of diabetes
  13. Improves your overall quality of life
  14. Reduces your risk of getting heart disease
  15. Reduces your risk of developing hypertension (high blood pressure)
  16. Reduces your risk of developing osteoporosis
  17. Reduces your risk of getting colon cancer
  18. Reduces your risk of getting breast cancer
  19. Helps you live longer
  20. Helps you think better
  21. Helps you learn better
  22. You feel overall healthier
  23. You feel happier
  24. You have more confidence
  25. It helps you deal with stress better.
  26. You have fewer asthma episodes.
  27. Many more benefits. Can you name any?

There you go! That’s why I exercise. That’s why I do it. That’s why the experts recommend that we all exercise, even if we have severe asthma.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Asthma.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (4)
  • lion.katharine
    4 months ago

    What exercises do you do? I have such problems with asthma and exercise, I can only do gentle yoga and walking. What did you do to build up better lung capacity?

  • Gingern
    4 months ago

    Lion.katharine about 2 years ago I started going to the Healthy Steps program at the pool which our local physical therapist provides. There is something about being in the water which allows me to exercise without becoming short of breath. It is the best thing I have done for myself. I walk in the pool, forward, backward and side steps. There are leg lifts, squats, etc. You can also use Styrofoam barbells for upper body and arms. Check with your physical therapy clinics to see if any of them provide this service.

  • John Bottrell, RRT moderator author
    4 months ago

    HI.. lion.katharine. For years I just walked. As I obtained better asthma control, this increased to jogging and running (wogging, my friends call it). I also like to lift weights as best I can. This helps me to stay physically fit. And, Lord knows, I’m not perfect at it. The important thing is you find something that you can do and just do it as often as you can. Here is a link to some suggestions if you are interested. Let me know what you think. John. Site Moderator. https://asthma.net/living/16-ideal-exercises-for-asthma/

  • Leon Lebowitz, RRT moderator
    4 months ago

    Hi lion.katharine and thanks for your post. Although I cannot presume to answer for John (I’m sure he will answer once he sees your inquiry), I thought you might gain some additional insight for your concern from this article on asthma and exercise: https://asthma.net/triggers/exercise/. I hope you find it to be helpful. All the best, Leon (site moderator)

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