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Fit Tip: Asthma and Running

I have allergy-induced asthma, and I was worried that certain types of exercise, like running, would make it worse. Then a fellow asthma sufferer told me that it really helped to get their asthma symptoms under control, so I gave it a shot. After I started running, I was able to decrease my asthma medicine dosage to once per day, which was huge for me (I hate that I have to rely on it).

There is a right and wrong way to run when you have asthma so here are some tips that helped me:

  • Figure out what times of day you are breathing the best and run then. If you tend to wake up not being able to breathe, then a prework run may not be the best idea for you.
  • Take your asthma medicine every day as directed. Also, if your asthma is triggered by allergies, taking an allergy medicine such as Singulair or a nasal spray like Flonase may help to relieve your asthma symptoms so you'll be able to breathe freely when running.
  • If you know that running triggers an asthma attack, take a puff or two of your rescue inhaler (Albuterol) before starting your run. The medicine will help open your airways, which can prevent an attack.

Want to hear what else may help? Then

  • In case you feel an attack coming on, keep water and your rescue inhaler with you while running.
  • Now that Winter is upon us, run indoors. Inhaling cold air can irritate your lungs which can trigger an asthma attack.
  • If possible, take a hot, steamy shower before you go for a run. Not only will it loosen up mucus in your lungs, but it'll warm up your muscles, too.
  • Huffing and puffing can trigger an attack, so jog at a consistent pace where you can breathe calmly, but still work your heart.
  • Don't do interval training where you sprint for two minutes, and then jog for two minutes and so on. You'll end up breathing heavily, which could spur an attack.
  • Listen to your body. If you're running and you start wheezing, slow down your pace dramatically and walk. Concentrate on taking long, calm, and deep breaths. Begin running again only when your breathing has returned to normal.


Join The Conversation
mollygirl9 mollygirl9 6 years
thanks, Fit - was just diagnosed with asthma and appreciate your tips!
tiff58 tiff58 9 years
I thought that my asthma was gone- until I ran outdoors recently for my bootcamp class. The cold definitely was what caused the attack. I'm going to look into getting an inhaler.
silver4 silver4 9 years
Fit, I'm not really sure it's a great idea to dole out medical advice for serious conditions... overusing a rescue inhaler can cause huge problems when it's needed in an emergency. It can become less effective. They're also really *not* intended for prophylactic use. If your doctor recommends that you do this, by all means follow their advice... but it's certainly not a good idea for most asthmatics.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
I usualyl take my inhaler RIGHT before I go on the treadmill and for the most part I should last the full half hour. I really concrentrate on my breathing too. But it is true, my asthma has gottne a lot better since i started my running:)
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