Mixing It Up: Changing Your Activity Routines In These Different Times

Have you found yourself adapting to different asthma-friendly physical activities during these changing times?

My local pool closed due to the COVID-19 emergency measures, thereby limiting the time that I should be spending outside my house. This time has been limited to walks and bike rides. I was having to adjust to new physical activity routines. I am a person who generally thrives with routine. I set out on a mission to find alternate forms of exercise.

Alternative asthma-friendly activities

Morning yoga before work has become the new normal as my morning swims needed a replacement. This is the time that I wish we had also put in a pool many years ago. Although, the weather has not been cooperating for outdoor swims; we had snow last week in my neck of the woods!

Honestly, while walking is not challenging, I am not the fastest walker and I have never been a runner. I wondered how my lungs were going to adjust to a different exercise regimen.

It is spring, there are allergens blooming, and after a recent exacerbation, my go-to activity would be cycling. However, I was not feeling confident about the state of my lungs. I did not want to get very far from the house and then be unable to ride the distance back. However, this was mostly fear; I found that being forced to change my activities highlighted that I could do something different and be just fine.

How I found some asthma-friendly activities

Being prepared

I ensure that my asthma is the most controlled that it can be. This includes monitoring changes in symptoms, being prepared with my rescue inhaler on hand, avoiding triggers, and having appropriate clothing. I took it slow, starting with walking around the block. This increased to longer walks: walking with my walking poles and walking much farther than I thought I could while being symptom-free.

Making it fun

Listening to music or a podcast, or having a good old fashion phone conversation, will help elevate your mood and make it feel less like work. Walk with a member of your household, where appropriate, and in accordance with your physical distancing guidelines for where you live.

Adjusting my schedule

Shorter activities mixed with long activities (such as walking and taking a break to do some squats or jumping jacks) provided me with a good balance and some recovery time. This also includes modifying intensities on days when I may be feeling less well.

Trying something new

This could be trying a new asthma friendly-activity by Zoom video, chat, or even audio direction. An athletic clothing brand that I love has been offering virtual recess: 15 minutes work out to break up all the sitting. Who knew it could be so fun! I have reengaged with yoga, which was also nerve-wracking. It had been so long since I did a yoga class.

I had been dealing with an ongoing Achilles injury which is associated with an antibiotic I took for a lung infection. The infection was connected to an asthma exacerbation. It has become the gift that keeps on giving! In the beginning, it was really holding me back from participating in activities, since it was often aggravated.

Lessons I've learned

I can do more than I thought. My new motto is to "be the little engine that could." I feel like my lungs are going to hold me up! I am pushing myself to new limits!

For the first time in quite some time, I am dictating my life and not my asthma, inhalers, and exacerbations. I am enjoying this silver lining of having to adjust my routine. Your care team can help you advise on what may be safe for you.

Have you also been adjusting your physical activity routine with the current restrictions in place? What have you been doing? Anyone else doing 80’s style jazzercise? Share in the comments below!

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