Tips for Running with Asthma

Jan 05, 12

You don’t have to give up running just because you have asthma. I’ve had asthma since I was a kid and I have ran since middle school. There are, however, some adjustments you may need to make just to ensure you are safe and comfortable while you run. Asthma can cause shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing and pressure, pain or a tight feeling in your chest. Running can make the symptoms worse so many people give it up but you don’t have to. It’s a great way to relax, lose weight and build stamina.

The key to running with asthma is to get it under control and then create a plan to help reduce your risk of triggering an attack during your run. This quick guide for running with asthma can help you accomplish that goal.

Understand Your Asthma

It’s vital that you understand the type of asthma you have so you can get it under control. What makes you have an asthma attack? Do exercise and other physical exertion bring on an attack or is it induced by allergies? How often do you use an inhaler?

The answers to these questions will help you determine what precautions to take when running. Discuss your asthma and running options with your doctor. He or she can assist you in creating a plan suited for you personally.

Allergy Induced Asthma

When your asthma is induced by allergies (a big problem for those of us in Texas), you need to avoid the things that set it off. Wear a mask when you run to prevent breathing in pollen or other allergens that bring on an attack. After the run, shower off and change your clothes to wash off any allergens that may be on your clothing, your skin or in your hair.

Rain will wash the pollen out of the air temporarily. Therefore, a good time to run is right after it has been raining or you can run when it’s drizzling rain. Running indoors on a treadmill is also an option.

Exercise Induced Asthma

If exercise brings on an asthma attack, there are a few things that you can do to reduce your risk. Avoid running when the air is cold because this can trigger an attack when your lungs fill up with the cold air. Instead, run indoors on a treadmill where you can control the temperature.

Don’t push too hard. When you’re not used to running, you need to start out slowly and only run short distances. You need to give your body time to adjust to the workout to reduce your chances of having an attack. Eventually, you can increase the duration of your run but always listen to your body and stop when you feel you are pushing too hard.

Never run without taking your inhaler with you. No matter how careful you are, an asthma attack is always a possibility so you should be prepared, just in case. If you ever feel like your asthma is holding you back and keeping you from running, just remember that some of the most well known athletes in the world suffer from asthma. It didn’t hold them back, so why should it stop you?