Asthma UK community forum

Exercise and Asthma

I thought I would share with you all a positive experience, in case it helps anyone else with Asthma.

I'm an allergic asthmatic, and I take the brown, green and blue inhalers. One of the things recommended to me by my GP was exercise to help improve my lung function. Which isn't terribly bad but could be improved.

Having spent my childhood years as a sufferer of acute bronchitis and the mere mention of cross country runs of a cold morning being enough to send my lungs into painful breathless spasms, as you can imagine this recommendation of exercise got met with a healthy dose of scepticism on my part.

But months later I got my arm twisted by a friend into joining a gym. Probably had enough of me complaining about wobbly bits! haha!

Anyway I registered to join at the gym and went back two days later for my gym induction imagining all sorts of horror scenarios of me draped over the edge of a treadmill gasping for breathe and an ambulance being dispatched to my aid!

What a pleasant surprise. I was asked to fill out an A4 size questionnaire on my health, and put down all my medical conditions (asthma, M.E.) and anything else I thought they might want to know about.

A gym instructor then came and sat down and went through it with me and talked about my medical conditions and what I wanted out of my gym membership.

I was then taken into a room where they tested my lung function (for future reference) and the gym instructor designed a specifically tailored gym programme for helping me to improve my lung and cardio-vascular function, and to help strengthen my intercostal muscles.

Part of the programme is to perfect simple breathing techniques. For five minutes in the morning and five minutes in the evening I am required to sit down in a quiet room with no distractions, apart from some gentle relaxing music if I want and carry out my breathing techniques. This involves sitting down with your knees at right angles to your hips, placing your lower arms in top of your legs plams facing towards the ceiling and relaxing the shoulders and neck.

Then deeply breathe in through the nose at the same time pushing your tummy out as far as it will go (this helps you get more air in your lungs) then breathing out quickly through your mouth (as you would when doing a peak flow reading) at same time as pushing your tummy in to help expel all the air from your lungs. Practice twice a day for five minutes and slowly build up.

I'm also doing some light cardio-vascular training on a treadmill, a recumbant bike and a rowing machine (all tailored to accomodate my lung function) and some light weights and exercises to strengthen my intercostal and shoulder muscles.

The good thing is the programme has been written specifically with me and my limitations in mind and is gently and slowly working on the areas that need improving, and I'm already noticing an improvement in my normal lung function and am having to use my blue inhaler less and less in situations where before it would have been necessary.

So I guess I'm writing this for anyone else out there that has been recommended exrcise to help with their asthma, and if your sceptical like I was, to encourage you to give it a go.

I think I was guilty of thinking gym instructors wouldn't know the first thing about asthma and how to improve it, but I have been very pleasantly surprised already and I've only been going for a month!


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