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Tips for Exercising With Asthma

by Courtney on January 4, 2011

This morning was the first morning in a while that I’ve attempted the pre- 6:00am workout. Not as easy to “ease” back into as I had hoped. :shock:

After making it through the first five minutes of warming up without actually falling asleep, I figured I was good enough to continue. However, the energy level was just not there…maybe I didn’t get as a good a nights’ sleep as I thought?

Despite the lack of energy (and breath, but I’ll get into that more in a minute…) I ended up doing my 45 minute treadmill walk while catching up on the morning news.

Exercising with Asthma

So as I mentioned, today’s workout was a bit of a difficult one…

You may or may not already know that I do, in fact, have asthma. As a child, it was something that I struggled with on a day-to-day basis. My elementary & middle school years were spent trying to keep things in check, using 2-3 different inhalers every day to try to combat any flair-ups. When the flair-ups did arise, it was awful; sometimes we could battle the asthma attacks at home, but sometimes they were bad enough to require a trip to the doctor’s office for oxygen treatments.

As I grew older, my symptoms slowly subsided and I was eventually able to wean myself off of my medication. I continued to keep a rescue inhaler at all times, in case of emergency, but usually only needed it if I’d caught a cold that landed in my chest, or if I was going to be exercising/playing sports.

As I made my way into adulthood, I barely even thought twice about my once troublesome asthma. Everything was great and I could exercise strong…until we found Cody.


Apparently, after being away from cats for two years, (I’d been out of my parents’ house for that long, and they had cats) being re-exposed to him brought my asthma back…in full-force. I’ll tell ya, it was a good thing he was so stinkin’ cute!!



After a few trips to the doctor, I was put on Singulair and almost immediately felt like a brand new person. For the most part, my asthma symptoms had subsided, and I could once again get back to my normal exercise routine.

Well lately, my asthma symptoms have not been that easy to regulate. I’ve been using my rescue inhaler way more than I should be, I wake up in the middle of the night tight-chested and wheezy, and exercise has been pretty difficult. Without having yet talked to my doctor (I have an appointment scheduled for Thursday) I’m attributing most of my problems to all the kicked-up dust from our kitchen renovations, but I can’t be sure.

Even though it’s been a little difficult on the exercise front, that doesn’t mean I get an excuse to not keep moving, though! Anyone with asthma can (and should!) definitely still keep moving. Here are some of my tips for those of you who may be experiencing the same asthma issues:

Tips for Exercising with Asthma

  • Use your rescue inhaler 10 minutes before starting activity. Your body will be able to cope much easier with the exercise.
  • Always start with a warmup, gradually increase your workout, and don’t forget to cool down.
  • Always have your rescue inhaler with you when you exercise.
  • Try not to come into contact with things that trigger your asthma. (For me, it’s dust pollen, and pet dander.)


Tips for Exercising Outdoors with Asthma

  • If cold weather triggers your asthma, exercise indoors in the winter months. I’m okay with this, BUT if you must exercise outside start off slow…
  • Run a few minutes outdoors at first, and gradually build up your time to let your lungs get used to it.
  • Wear a neck warmer, scarf, or other protective layer over your nose and mouth. This may help prevent symptoms, since it keeps the air you’re breathing moist. Dry air tends to cause a burning feeling and can trigger an attack.

But Most Importantly…

  • Don’t avoid exercise! If you’re worried that working out may trigger an attack, find a low-impact alternative. Think walking, Pilates, or yoga.

source, source

Tonight, Jay and I are headed to my in-law’s house for dinner…YAY for not having to wash dishes in the tub!! :-D

Question for the Evening:

Do you deal with any sort of asthma/exercise-induced asthma? How do you keep things in check?

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Emma (Sweet Tooth Runner) January 4, 2011 at 5:34 pm

I don’t have asthma, but I think it’s great that you’ve written this! My best friend has quite bad asthma, and often has trouble exercising, but I’ll send this URL to her and see what she thinks. I think this’ll help her a lot, so thanks! :D
Emma (Sweet Tooth Runner) recently posted..2011 goals and your feedback neeeded!


2 Ashley January 4, 2011 at 5:35 pm

Squee! Baby Cody = too cute.

Have you tried rooibos tea and/or fish oil supplements? The former is supposed to be good for allergies and it’s caffeine free. The latter is good for inflammation, which is also helpful for allergy sufferers. My BFF has bad allergies and asthma also, both seem to help her.


3 Courtney January 4, 2011 at 10:27 pm

I have not tried the rooibos tea or fish oil…perhaps I’ll have to look into that. Thanks for the tips!


4 Blog is the New Black January 4, 2011 at 5:41 pm

I only get excerise-induced asthma after butt-kicking workouts- luckily just allergies, not asthma!
Blog is the New Black recently posted..Now Dip- Baby- Dip!


5 Christina @ Food.Fun.Fabulous. January 4, 2011 at 6:12 pm

I’m so glad you posted about this! I just developed exercise-induced asthma within the past year and it seems to be worse now that I’ve tried running outside in the winter. I’ll keep your tips in mind! Thanks :)
Christina @ Food.Fun.Fabulous. recently posted..Hello 2011 – Looking Forward to a Great Year!


6 Courtney January 4, 2011 at 10:26 pm

Good luck!!


7 Emma January 4, 2011 at 6:15 pm

Hi Sweetie!
Happy new year and a belated happy anniversary! Just wanted to say that I came across your blog a couple of weeks ago and think it’s fab! You made a stunning bride :-) love the wedding pics x x
Emma recently posted..Broccoli stuffed tomatoes and first day back


8 Courtney January 4, 2011 at 10:26 pm

Welcome, Emma! Thank you, and happy new year to you, too! :)


9 Katy (The Singing Runner) January 4, 2011 at 7:18 pm

I have exercise-induced asthma, but I am SUPER thankful it hasn’t acted up in a long time (fingers crossed…knock on wood, etc). It was pretty rough in high school when I played basketball. I would literally have to use my inhaler during every game and practice. It was awful!
Katy (The Singing Runner) recently posted..Perfectionist


10 Alyssa Kuminski January 4, 2011 at 7:33 pm

I am SO glad you posted this and was thinking when I walked into the gym today that I wanted to post about this in my blog today…but since you pretty much covered ground I will just link your page! I have exercise-induced asthma as of two years ago and it acts up SO much more in the Winter. I’ve been dreading working out but all of your tips are 100% on point and help me before workouts. Have a good dinner :)
Alyssa Kuminski recently posted..My NEW New Year


11 Courtney January 4, 2011 at 10:26 pm

Thanks, Alyssa!! :)


12 Anna @ Blissful Whimsy January 4, 2011 at 7:36 pm

Thanks for this post. I have bad asthma I’ve struggled with since childhood too and recently mine’s gotten incredibly bad, especially when I try to run outside. It’s been worrying me, but I think it really is just the cold. I’ll definitely try your tips :o)
Anna @ Blissful Whimsy recently posted..Enchantment Tuesday


13 Evan Thomas January 4, 2011 at 8:15 pm

The cookie dough larabar is definitely my favorite flavor. I tried pb + chocolate chip and it just wasn’t as good.


14 Courtney January 4, 2011 at 10:25 pm



15 Liz (Little Bitty Bakes) January 5, 2011 at 7:33 am

I had exercise induced asthma from 8th grade until I was about 20 — then I just outgrew it. :) I was on Advair (the disk) which I loved. Now I just keep albuterol around to be safe!

Happy breathing ;)
Liz (Little Bitty Bakes) recently posted..Champagne White Chocolate Ring Cookies


16 Sarah January 6, 2011 at 2:28 pm

I have asthma too and have found myself using my rescue inhaler way to often lately as well and now i’ve run out!
TIME to head back to the doctor for sure.
Yesterday workout was totally killed because i just couldn’t get a breath!
Thanks for the tips!
Sarah recently posted..My Moms Here!


17 Sky September 4, 2014 at 9:21 pm

Great tips. My girlfriend deals with asthma and sometimes laments not being able to do brisk activities as much. We’ll have to try some of your suggestions.
Sky recently posted..The Newest Foe: Fat Blindness


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