Finding a Groove Between Your Asthma and Physical Activity
Last updated: March 2023
I read the best thing from gymnast Gracie Kramer the other day that seemed to sum up my recent journey of getting back into a more significant physical activity routine.
“How do I want to feel in 6 months? Why did I fall in love in the first place? What can I do today to improve?"
I have been trying to carve out a new path forward, regarding my fitness goals to improve my health from long-term steroid usage for my asthma. The last year has been a bit turbulent; my overall health has been decent, however, a couple of big exacerbations put a dapper in my training and achieving improved physical fitness. These events began a journey of looking for other exercise social supports and motivation in my exercise regimen.
Looking for motivation to increase my physical activity
I had fallen into an exercise rut, I had lost my motivation. Physical activity and exercise have always been important to me, but dealing with the loss of motivation was challenging. I wasn’t sure how to get my physical activity levels back up for the first time and didn’t feel like doing the hard work. I was scared that I couldn’t execute specific exercises.
Support from a workout buddy
I had previously tried a workout buddy, this had been a surefire way to keep me motivated. We would go on walks and light hikes, however, while they experience great improvements and became more confident they were leaving me behind in the dust. They were kind and would walk slower or we would arrange to meet in the middle, but I felt like I was slowing them down and I was discouraged. I started doing more of my workouts solo which wasn’t too bad but I missed having more social interaction.
Trying to create routine
I had considered pulmonary rehab at one time to get me back into a physical activity routine, however, it is challenging to access the programs here. They have strict criteria and can be limited in their scope. My physician wanted to give it a bit more time before referring me.
This is when I had begun to work with a trainer/coach that I loved, but it was neither close to home, nor the office, and scheduling became an issue. Plus all the costs were out of pocket. I think it is a worthwhile expenditure but only so many seasons would be feasible. This provided a good kickstart, but I needed more sustainable ideas.
Making exercise fun
I decided that I needed to go back to what I loved which included trying some fun activities and setting some goals. I visited a friend who can snowshoe from their property. It was fun to have a meet-up and just be able to do a fun activity out of their backdoor. I forgot how fun that could be and were have been blessed with some warm days so this was easy on my lungs and with my rescue inhaler on board just in case my lungs became twitchy.
Asthma and fun ways to increase my physical activity
I have been setting much lower goals, for example, smaller more consistent workouts. I am getting back in the pool which has always been my happy place. I still need to work on staying consistently motivated but hoping that these smaller goals will help. I use a calendar method where I map out my workouts and what I want to get out of them. For example, Monday may be a lunchtime walk with the goal of 30 minutes and one or two hills. Another day may be incorporating weight training, yoga, or meeting a friend for a walk or a small hike. We are going to try pickleball next.
What do you do to stay motivated with exercise and asthma? Have you found a fun activity or a routine that doesn't exacerbate your asthma and keeps you active?
Has laughter ever triggered your asthma?