Choosing activities that are right for you

If you’ve ever edited a Tumblr site (or, if you’re more well-read than I!), you’ll probably have been greeted with the words of Henry David Thoreau—“It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.”
Especially when you’re starting out with exercise, few things could be more true. As long as you keep moving, you are going forward! It’s important to choose activities that you find enjoyable, but also ones that work for your asthma.

I’ve explored this topic previously, when writing an Exercise Guide for the Asthma Society of Canada1, and I’ve found that activity choices really fall into three categories—and, like many asthma things, we can kind of put them into the traffic light system—green, for activities that will likely fit most people’s abilities with asthma, yellow, for activities that may require more planning if you have asthma, and red, for activities that may be most difficult for people with asthma. This does not mean you should not do them… it simply means that you may need to plan well, or take a few more precautions to maintain good asthma control when participating in these activities.

Remember: The only activity people with asthma are fully discouraged from participating in is SCUBA diving, due to the effects of this activity on the lungs. Otherwise, perhaps with some adaptations, you should feel free to participate in the activity of your choice. The below suggestions1 are for information purposes only—use them to guide you, but not discourage you!

Green – Good Choices to Start With

  1. Walking
  2. Cycling
  3. Swimming
  4. Aquafit/water aerobics
  5. Rock climbing
  6. Martial arts
  7. Weight training
  8. Surfing
  9. Water Skiing
  10. Golf
  11. Racquet sports
  12. Volleyball
  13. Baseball or softball
  14. Football

 Yellow – May Require Additional Planning

  1. Running or jogging
  2. Hiking
  3. Gym activities (due to the presence of triggers in many gyms), including cardio machines, weight machines or free weights, and group classes
  4. Dance (which can, in terms of intensity, be comparable to running in many cases!)

 Red – Proceed With Caution and Plan Well!

  1. Hockey
  2. Basketball
  3. Soccer

I must stress again: do not let this list dictate your choices! The activity, or activities, you decide to focus on need to be enjoyable for you. For instance, I still cannot figure out if I should categorize trampoline as a green or a yellow! And, for example, I cannot personally run to save my life (maybe to catch a bus, but legitimately probably not to save my life!), There are, of course, dozens if not hundreds of activities that aren’t included on this list. By staying open-minded, and trying as many activities as possible, you will find something that’s right for you! You may be the next professional Slam Ball player (…which would be playing basketball on trampolines. You read that right), if you keep your options open, and just have fun trying new things!

While you probably have a pretty good idea why some of these activities are categorized as they are, in an upcoming post, I’ll explore some of the reasons that these activities are classified where they are, and how different asthma triggers can make exercise even more “fun” (sarcasm my friends, sarcasm!) to plan when you have asthma.

What do you think—did I group these activities accurately? Would you move some of them around based on your own experiences? Let me know in the comments!

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.
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