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Staying Active Despite Having Asthma.

Staying Active Despite Having Asthma

Staying active can be a major struggle for many asthmatics. Exercise is very important. The thought of exercising can be daunting for those of us who struggle to breathe at times even doing simple mundane day to day tasks. There are important points to think about and remember when deciding how to exercise:

  • Always talk to your doctor before starting ANY exercise program. This is very important.
  • If exercise tends to set your asthma off, you can use your rescue inhaler 15 min prior to exercise. This will help open up your airways and give you the maximum benefit for your workout.
  • START SLOW! Don’t get into the mindset that it’s only exercise if you’re being super active and running. Simply not the case. Start out by just taking a short, slow walk. Don’t push yourself too hard or too far.
  • Listen to your body. If you start to feel short of breath or wheezy stop immediately and take a break.
  • Work on slowly building your stamina. The important thing to remember is that you are getting up and being active.
  • Pick an activity that you enjoy doing. Swimming is a good activity for asthmatics, as is yoga.
  • When possible, exercise with another person. Not only can it make exercising more enjoyable, there will also be someone there to help if your asthma starts acting up.

One of my favorite things to do is go on walks with my children. I can go as fast or as slow as I am able while still being active and spending time with them. Another activity I really enjoy doing is dancing. Once upon a time I was a trained dancer back in my childhood. Nowadays, my rhythm is severely lacking but it doesn’t stop me from having fun and being as active as I am able.  Zumba (which combines salsa dance moves with cardio workout moves) used to absolutely scare the living daylights out of me. It seemed so intimidating and way out of my skill set or ability as an asthmatic. So I slowly started building my stamina at the gym with easy walks on the treadmill or slow laps in the pool. One day I decided to go for it and give a Zumba class a try. Although I had to modify the vast majority of moves as to not push myself too hard too soon, I had a ton of fun.  I’ll admit I was probably too hard on myself in the beginning for not being able to keep up with many of the other participants who were all older than myself by easily decades. But then I had to be realistic. I have a severe lung disease and they don’t and have been doing this for years.  Once I gave myself a little bit of grace I was able to get into the mindset that I am doing something active and having a lot of fun doing it, despite being an asthmatic.
When your asthma is under good control, leading an active lifestyle can be easy and fun!

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


  • Norty
    1 year ago

    I need some advice. I play doubles tennis and take my inhaler 1/2 hour before I start. Sometimes that is all I need. However, I usually take a few puffs after 1/2 hour or so. I can complete the 1 1/2 hour game and feel ok afterwards.
    I am now playing indoors. When the weather warms up, I’ll see if there is any difference.
    I am new to this site as I am getting more concerned about my asthma. (I also take Spiriva). That helped.
    Currently, I am almost off of a 9 day prednisone regimen. Must have picked up a virus.


  • SusieQB
    1 year ago

    I found your post interesting because I was told I was using my rescue inhaler too much. I am very active and find I have to use it prior to physical activity. I’m struggling with new medication and not using my rescue inhaler hardly at all but feel I want to use it. I walk every morning, doesn’t matter the weather, yoga (warm and room temp), pilates and now that the nice weather is here, I’m riding my bike almost daily. So from what I’m reading here from you and Lyn Harper who responded to you, is that it’s ok to use blue puffer prior to exercise if needed.

  • Lyn Harper, RRT moderator
    1 year ago

    Hi Norty –

    I’m not quite sure I understand exactly what you need advice on. But, it sounds like you’ve been pretty successful with your current regimen. An asthma specialist will often tell their patients to pre-medicate exactly like you’ve been doing. It looks like one of your concerns is having to take another few puffs a 1/2 hour into the game. However, it looks like you’re on top of trying different ways to mitigate issues.

    Do you keep an asthma action plan? If not, I would suggest you do that for a couple of weeks at least and next time you see your doctor, take it with you. It may give them an idication of what’s happening and prompt an adjustment in medicaitons. Or, it may reveal that once the prednisone takes effect and does it’s job, there won’t be any more problems and the pre-tennis puffs may just do the job.

    Lyn (moderator)

  • Leon Lebowitz, RRT moderator
    1 year ago

    Hi SusieQB and Norty. I’ll add on to what Lyn has said. Using rescue inhalers can be very personal and extremely individualized – this is a good thing. If you have your asthma under control (by using them), that may be what works best for you! Some practitioners believe that using the rescue inhaler a certain number of times a week indicates poor asthma control. If the maintenance inhaler decreases the need for the rescue inhaler, that is considered to be successful, especially if one’s symptoms are then controlled better. I always believe that each asthmatic knows themselves the best! By working closely with your trusted physician, you should be able to determine a medication regimen that is right for you. Wishing you both well. Leon (site moderator)

  • SusieQB
    1 year ago

    Like Norty, I too am wondering the same thing. I was told if you use it more than 3-4 times a week then it is too much. It doesn’t feel like it to me!!

  • Norty
    1 year ago


    How often can you use the rescue inhaler? Sometimes, I get anxious and use it when I didn’t need to.
    I also take 2400mg of Mucinex, 1200 in morning and 1200 at dinner time.
    I wish that I had seen this site earlier.
    I forget how

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