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Running to Cure Asthma?

I LOVE running, but that wasn't always the case. As a kid, I always hated it. I played inside with my dolls to avoid those stupid tag games (I was always "it"). And don't even get me started on the mile run at school we'd sporadically do twice a year - I HATED running.

In college, I developed asthma and now I have to take 2 kinds of medicine everyday - if I don't, I can't even carry on a conversation without coughing. But I HATE taking it everyday.

My friend told me her husband had asthma really bad - like rush to the ER bad - and he started running regularly and it really helped.

So I gave it a try. Of course, I didn't stop taking my medication right away, I started running first. And when I say started, it was a slow start. I walked a lot in the beginning, but gradually increased the amount of time I ran, minute by minute - and now I'm up to 30 minutes.

I set a goal for myself to do it consistently, 3 times a week, and I have to say that it helped a ton. Exercising my lungs clears out any fluid I have in there. It must work for Jackie Joyner-Kersee too. Now, I can't remember the last time I had to take my albuterol.

Want to go from HATE to LOVE? Then

The most important tip I can give you is - Start off slow. You want to train your body by easing into it. Aim for 3 workouts per week and increase the intensity when you're ready.

Always stretch before and after your workout, at least 10 minutes. Warm up and cool down with 5 minutes of walking before and after you run.

And when you run, you don't have to sprint like you're running for your life - jog at a moderate pace, enough to feel your heart and lungs working.

Weeks 1-4: Start off walking 30 min - I'm talking pumping your arms and legs - brisk walking. Do this for 4 weeks.
On the 5th week: Walk 5 minutes, run 5 minutes, walk 5 minutes, run 5 minutes, and so on for 30 minutes.
On the 6th week: Walk 5 minutes, run 6 minutes, walk 5 minutes, run 6 minutes, and so on for 30 minutes.
On the 7th week: Walk 5 minutes, run 7 minutes, walk 5 minutes, run 7 minutes, and so on for 30 minutes.
On the 8th week: Walk 5 minutes, run 8 minutes, walk 5 minutes, run 8 minutes, and so on for 30 minutes.
On the 9th week: Walk 5 minutes, run 9 minutes, walk 5 minutes, run 9 minutes, and so on for 30 minutes.
On the 10th week: Walk 5 minutes, run 10 minutes, walk 5 minutes, run 10 minutes, and walk the last 5 minutes.

As you're ready, begin to increase the amount of time you're running. Walk 5 minutes, run 15 minutes, walk 5 minutes, run 15 minutes, and finish with a 5 minute cool down walk.

Then walk 5 minutes, run 20 minutes, and cool down with a 5 minute walk.

Eventually, you'll work up to stretching for 10 minutes, walking for 5 minutes, running for 30, walking for 5 minutes to cool down, and ending with 10 or more minutes of stretching.

Listen to your body and try to set a reasonable goal for yourself, and stick with it by keeping a moderate pace - no need to be huffing and puffing.

And know that everyday is different. Some days you'll want to chuck you sneakers across the room, and other days, well, you'll start running and won't want to stop.

Join The Conversation
kristints kristints 8 years
I've had asthma for as long as I can remember. I also despised tag and that dreaded mile they'd make us run twice a year, but since I started running and doing pranayama breathing exercises my asthma is 10 times better. I'm still a newbie at running, but as I get stronger my breathing gets easier too. Running is a like miracle drug that most people don't know exists. :)
rugeorge rugeorge 10 years
I used to hate running and I would try it again every year when the summer rolled around mostly because I felt it was something that "fit people" do for exercise. (Now, I know that lots of fit people don't just run as exercise, but it's in my head.) Anyway, I started practicing yoga about 18 months ago and this past summer I tried running again. Now, I love it! I need to get out to run. I think yoga really helped me with my running for some reason. I attribute it to "being where I'm at"... =) I'm not really sure, I'm just happy that I love running now! And running outside during the winter is the best! It's the only time I ever feel "hard core" while doing a sport... ok that and doing arm balances in yoga. =)
Geekysugar Geekysugar 10 years
I always hateed runing when I was little (especially the dreaded tag. I had a system where I would sit very still and make all of the other players come to me. I once got a terrible black eye because i laid down on the ground and the other players started jumping over me. I stuck my hand up to catch one of them and he tripped and kicked me in the face) However in HS i had a gym teacher who was also the track coach and he made us run all of the time. Instead of hating it i decided to actually try to do it. I came to enjoy it. I also have an aunt who competitively races (after 3 kids!) and is in amazing shape. she encourages me to keep it up. her biggest trick is to trick yourself to start: just say 'I'll run to the end of the street' and by the time you're there you just keep going. I love running now, especially after i went to a great running shop and got the best shoes for my feet and some pointers. I luckily never had to deal with asthma but i understand the issues involved (and the hatred of it) I am glad to hear of other runners finding it later in life and learning to love it.
Butrfly4404 Butrfly4404 10 years
I don't know why I started that with "Actually"...time to go home!
Butrfly4404 Butrfly4404 10 years
Actually, I ordered three months worth from my online pharmacy, then found out I was prego right before I got it! My pulmonologist said not to take it...I quit smoking then. Haven't needed it since. I've only used my albuterol a few times since then, too. (In fact, it's probably expired..oops). It still gets hard for me to breathe if it's too dry or too humid or if my allergies get really bad, but other than that, I've been okay. Still have the 3 disks! Can't sell them, don't want to throw them away, and don't know anyone who takes it (in person, that is).
Fitness Fitness 10 years
Butrfly - I still do take Advair, but only once a day. I wouldn't be too concerned with thrush though. I usually take my morning puff, then brush my teeth like I normally do (and my tongue too) and I've never had any problems. I hate taking Advair, but I used to take the highest dose twice a day. Running helped me drop down to the middle dose, and only one puff a day is needed. I owe it all to running.
Fitness Fitness 10 years
Wow - thatgirl and girrly - glad to see running helped you too. Now I love it, and when I don't run, I really notice a difference with my asthma.
thatgirljj thatgirljj 10 years
I was first diagnosed with asthma at 16, but looking back, I had it at least since I was 6 or 7. I hated running because I associated running with the feeling of an elephant sitting on my chest. But I thought that was normal, I was in awe of marathon runners for putting up with the pain. I had a really excellent doctor though who treated a lot of asthmatic triathletes and marathoners. He encouraged me to start jogging, telling me that the increased lung capacity would mean that I would be better able to breathe when I had attacks. And sure enough, he was right... eventually I even completed a couple of 5k and one 10k race. I don't run any more because of a snowboarding foot injury, but I make sure to do plenty of cardiovascular exercise to keep my lungs in shape.
Girrly007 Girrly007 10 years
I had the same fears, Butrfly! My allergist had put me on Advair and I hated taking it because of the possibility of thrush. I'd rather stick with my albuterol. I was in the same boat as you, fit -- hated running the mile. Just couldn't do it. But I would dance for hours at my studio and be fine. After a breakup a few years ago, I started running at the gym and had worked myself up to about 30 minutes of constant running. It really did help my asthma!! I think part of the problem for me, as a kid, was running outside on the track. Running on the treadmill is easier since it's inside and I don't have to brave allergens.
Butrfly4404 Butrfly4404 10 years
After smoking for nearly 8 years, I developed asthma at 18. I suffered through it for a few years before I quit smoking. So, are you off all medication now? Were/are you taking Advair? I HATED taking that! I was so scared of getting thrush, I spent FOREVER brushing every morning. I tried running a few times, but it was when I was a smoker and I didn't do it like this AT ALL. I've been thinking about giving it a shot again now that my asthma has calmed down. That is totally crazy that running actually helps it, though!
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