Restarting Your Workout Plan After An Asthma Flare

I like working out. I ride the bike, treadmill, and lift some weights. I have a nice program that I do. I know I’m not the lone asthmatic to do this. But, as asthmatics, sometimes we experience a setback. An asthma episode might cause us to miss time from our workouts. So, in this post, I’d like to offer my tips for restarting your workout regimen post asthma attack recovery.

What got me to thinking about post asthma attack recovery?

Well, I had an asthma set back. I ended up in the ER. I ended up on a boost of steroids. Obviously you can’t work out when you’re having a flare-up. And then there's the rest and recovery period. All told, it was two weeks sitting around. Now I’m better and ready to get back to my workout.

I read an article that said that you lose muscle if you don't keep working out. I do not have the article. But, I remember reading this once and I think it’s true. If you are a normal person, such as someone without a chronic condition, what is the amount of muscle loss if you miss time from your workout?

Well, the article said that if you go one week without working out you lose about nothing. You’re probably fine to just restart where you left off. If you miss two weeks, you’ll probably have to cut back 25% and restart from that point. If you miss three weeks, you should reduce your weights or aerobic activity by 50%. And, if you miss a month, you might as well just start from scratch.

I mean, it was something like that. I didn’t quote it exactly. But, you get the point. It makes sense. And, if I miss workouts because of non-asthma things, I think that pretty much applies to me too. I mean, say I’m busy working or something. Or, say I’m on vacation. At least when you’re doing those things you’re busy being physically active. You are doing something. You’re not going to lose all of your stamina, at least not that fast.

But, what if you have an asthma attack?

Now, I have asthma. Many of you reading this have asthma. Or, maybe you have some other chronic condition I’m not aware of. But, we are not normal, in a sense. I mean, we are normal in our own ways. We try to live normal lives, but we cannot compare ourselves with perfectly healthy people who don’t have health setbacks.

Post asthma attack recovery

So, I adjusted the above for my post asthma attack self. I think this is important because asthma attacks can really set you back. Obviously, when you’re having an attack you can’t do much. And even during the recovery period, you can’t do much. You sit around quite a bit. You might not even be able to get off the couch for a few days. So, what happens is you rot your muscles. It stinks, but it’s the way it is.

So, you can’t just hop up and start where you left off. At least, you probably shouldn’t. And I know that I can’t. But, I know it’s important to get back to working out as soon as I possibly can. As soon as I was up to it was today. I got up. I took the kids to school. I went to the health club.

So, my rule is like this: You miss one week you have to cut back 75%. You do all your reps, but you do it with low weights. You get on the treadmill or bike (for me it’s the bike today, there’s no way I was going to run). And you just move your feet. If you’re up to it, you can increase your tension or whatever. You can get a decent workout without wearing yourself out or doing too much.

It’s a nice feeling to get back at it

I have learned not to worry about what other people think.

Sure, I lifted a measly 100 pounds (plus the bar) this morning doing chest presses. I lifted a measly 30 pounds doing barbell curls. So, some of the guys with abs the size of large boulders were looking at me. And I didn’t care.

I have learned not to worry what other people think. I think if you do that then you let them define you. And you let that intimidate you. I don’t think that’s helpful. So, I just go to the health club and do what my asthmatic body allows me to do. And I know within time, I’ll be back right where I was and then some.

Update: After writing this I came upon a quote by a physical therapist. It says: “A person who spends three days in a hospital bed loses up to three months worth of muscle.” So, I think I was spot on in my idea here. Thoughts?

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