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Exercise Induced Asthma - Advice please

Hi there, me again!!

Exercise is a really big trigger for me but I don't want to give it up but I'm really findin it hard. I take two puff 15 minutes before exercise but 5-10 minutes into it I feel sooo tight chested, and like I'm breathing through a straw and like my lungs have turned to lead. i have also started to get a stitch like feeling in the bottom of my lung which makes it painful to breathe. I still have a bit of a cough but the ventolin has helped this and has definately dried my phlegm up (yuck, sorry). I usually find I have to take 2 more puffs of ventolin afterwards too. Its not like I'm pushing things too far, I only run 2 miles! It is upsetting me really as I don't like being so limited.

I am still battling to control my asthma anyway, so is it possible that as the control gets better, the exercise will get better? Is there anything that might help me? Anyone have any advice??

I am seeing the nurse next week but would just like some advice from people who know first hand what its like.

13 Replies

I take singulair that has supposed to be for exercise induced asthma.

try a little more ventalin that might help xxxx


dont suppose there is any other type of exercise you can do? swimming is meant to be great for asthma (although it kills my kneck and the chemicals in the water make me ill but honestly it is meant to be good for asthmatics lol). maybe you need to take more of the inhaler or maybe a different one might be better even though the one you are on is meant to be good for exercise induced asthma....the nurse will be able to help but personally i would just pace yourself


I read the sodium Crom inhalers (Intal) can help excersice induced it is a horrible tasting one though!


Thanks, yeah I do love swimming although I don't look bonny in a swimsuit at the minute LOL. Yeah maybe I'll look at trying that instead.

The nurse did suggest trying a tablet (I'm gussing singulair - it seems to be the popular one) if the increased Seretide doesn't stop my daytime symptoms anyway so maybe with two drugs good for EIA, I might find it helps then.


Sorry to hear you are struggling with the exercise. I've started walking again and seem to be ok provided I take vent before I start and then at the end. Walking is perhap a bit more gentle than running, but if you love your sport it's hard to give up. As usual I guess a chat with the nurse is your best bet to see if anything else will help.

Take care. Sonja


question no ones asked is is this two mile something you've not done for a while? if so then maybe you're pushing it just a little bit so early, or try running a bit slower until you find you can cope better, but yes singulair (i use), accolate or intal/tillade can and is used for exercise induced asthma.

also read this, i know it's aimed at COPD but the principles still apply


I've been running for about 3 months and worked up from a mile. Somedays I can run 2.8 miles with no problem so I know I'm capable. Other days walking takes it out of me. I find it easier for me to run that bit faster, I run with a club and I find it easier to be at the front. It seems to take more out of me to run slowly!


that's odd!

try taking 4 or 5 before you start and when you feel bad, don't carry on sit down, and tke some inhaler, till you feel ready ot carry on, then take some at the end if you still need it x


classic EIA, symptoms 5-10 mins after starting, I still get that at times, usually when I race off up the hill, have you tried slow jogging for 10 mins or so before you do the club run. Before races I always jog for 10-15 mins and don't have the same problem. I know what you mean about going too slow, but don't be too hard on yourself, we all get Off days, i've had a few left home and just felt like death warmed up.


I find interval type training works best, doing 2-3 mins quite hard then 4-5 mins at a slower pace and then back up again, it seems to give my lungs a chance to recover in between bursts and then I can carry on for longer and the harder intensity bits added up end up much longer than I could do in one hit. I also switch exercises quite a lot, not doing the same thing for much more than 20 mins so I will treadmill for 20 mins then bike for a bit then step machine. I don't know if there's any reason why that works best (I may just have a short attention span!)



I've noticed this is a bit of a problem for me too. Probably my fault as I've a history of non compliance and therefore poor control.

However, I've noticed that now I'm better at taking my meds, excercise is still a problem for me. I take my Salbutamol just before I start in the gym (cycle for 20 minutes, row for 20 minutes) but then I need it again before I swim (30-50 lengths) and often need some when I finish too!

Not sure if this will improve as asthma gets controlled better, am going to see asthma nurse this week with almost a months worth of peak flow readings. Hopefully I'll get some good advice


Thanks again everyone fr you replies.

Hb, if you get any advice from your nurse about this would you mind PMing me please.

Def gonna try loading up beforehand with more ventolin (not too much though!!) and see if this helps and try the slow warm up jog beforehand. I suppose this heat doesn't help things either although before long I'll be complining its too cold too!


try nasal breathing (buteyko is a system to return to natural way of breathing)

If you maintain nasal breathing while exercising then you will not experience the same degree of EIA.

This will initially slow you down but you will then be able to increase your rate of exercise in an asthma friendly fashion.

The two classic times for EIA are 5-10 minutes after starting and again after finishing.

Tips are to warm up slowly and to finish with a warm down rather than a sprint finish and sudden stop.

If you nasal breathe it will limit how fast you can partake in exercise. This results in exercising without causing yourself symptoms. If you start to feel the need to open your mouth then slow down the rate of activity to maintain nasal breathing and if necessary stop until you can continue to exercise while nasal breathing.

I spent my first 32 years breathing through my mouth and struggling with exercise triggering EIA.

7 years since then i have had radical improvement in my asthma and almost no EIA at all since (though at times I have struggled and needed to slow down/stop to rest (esp. when hill walking- steep sections result in disproportionate increases in breathing for activity rate increase resulting in needing to slow down)).

I continue to play sport and exercise at a moderate level without symptoms. My asthma doesnt limit me, my available time to train does! (like people without asthma).

Curiously, if you nasal breathe all the time (and practice reduced breathing exercises) it will radically improve your performance during sports by resetting your respiratory centre to tolerate higher levels of CO2 (and also reducing the rate of build up of lactic acid resulting in less cramps and better aerobic exercising for longer- ideal for endurance events or multiple matches/races over a short period). You can improve your sports performance by how you breathe the rest of the week resulting in getting your lungs to their optimum 02/CO2 balance thus maximising performance (rather than breathing too much - often ones fitness is limited by breathing rather than tiredness in the muscles)....

This also helps in cold weather as your nose is designed to warm the air. In 6 degrees air temperature, your nose warms it to 30 degrees and adds moisture to it so that the air can reach 37degrees optimum temperature before it gets to your lungs. It also filters out particles, irritants and cold/flu virsuses...On the breath out through the nose the nose traps moisture so you dont get as dehydrated when exercising...

If you mouth breathe on the otherhand, there is no filtering, limited warming of the air, no moisture added on the in breath, excessive moisture lost on the out breath and EIA for those who are susceptible.....


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