Asthma UK community forum


Hi everyone

HELP both the dr and asthma nurse say I need more exercise (climbing the stairs is a problem some days) I am going to a leasure centre this afternoon to see what there is available. I know swimming will be good but am very worried about any other even though there is a trained paramedic on duty. Has anyone else experience of gym activities. Any suggestions, comments?

15 Replies


The best thing to do is talk to the leisure centre and there should be someone there who can help you find ways to exercise and what best for you as an individual.

Im an athlete with a degree in Sport Science and have to train very hard but even though Im really fit, certain things like running set my asthma off. So, I would advise you listen to your body and if you find your asthma gets worse with certain things - avoid them. Keep your reliever on you at all times and ensure the leisure centre know you have asthma (usually you sign a form to state that anyways).

The most important thing is finding a type of exercise that you like doing - you will keep at it long term.

Let us know how you get on. xx



Thanks for your reply. I went and had a long chat with the trainer today,I was there for about two hours, she was great and an added bonus is that she is a paramedic too. She is going to write to my dr and discuss with her what exercise would be right for me. It is a lovely place and I think I would be comfortable there. Certainly I do not feel so daunted. She has given me a free pass for a couple of weeks too so that is great. No pressure to pay for a year's membership. I am going to start with swimming tomorrow because I know the dr will be ok with that and the pool is lovely.

It may sound strange but because the place is so lovely (a large hotel and leasure complex in beautifuly grounds) I feel I shall be more likely to go. Also the gym was not full of the beautiful people. In fact the first person I say was a man who looked in much worse condition than I am. xx


i do an aqua fit class on a monday and thursday which is good fun and not as intense as the gym. maybe that'd work for you?

Geina x


Hi Mazteach. Exercise sets off my asthma too, but I spend three quarters of an hour at the gym 3 times a week. When I started I spent ages with one of the trainers who got me to try out all the equipment and between us we picked the ones that my lungs coped with best and I now start with the treadmill, which my lungs are least happy with and move on to the reclining bike which my lungs feel happiest with. My goal is to move on to a cross-trainer when I feel safe to do so. The important thing is to be aware of how your lungs are behaving and adjust the speed and resistance of the equipment accordingly. Oh, and don't feel that you HAVE to stick to a time. If you have to give up after 5 minutes it's not a failure and you can go back and have another go tomorrow.

I freely admit that I hate every minute that I exercise and to stop myself whining and complaining I listen to podcasts on my I-pod - Melvin Brag's In our Time makes my brain work quite hard and the News Quiz makes me laugh so the time flies.

Good luck with it.


Your gym sounds lovely. Maybe you can treat yourself to a nice relaxing jacussi after the gym.

I was going to recommend a gentle class like aqua fit - but someone got there first!! Something like Yoga or Tai Chi might be good as well. The most important thing is to build up really really slowly.

Personally I go swimming and haven't been to the gym for years. I love swimming and find my brain switches off completely. If your stroke isn't great it might be worth having a few lessons.

Hope you find something you enjoy.



That sounds really good! Im really pleased for you and it always helps to have the security of knowing someone can help you if you need it. Take care x


Really pleased for you all but hang it, asthma AND exercise? There goes my best excuse for not doing any. :p


I have to recommend yoga. I no longer swim and have always hated the thought of a gym- but a good yoga teacher who can go at the right pace for you is invaluable. The breathing exrecises and relaxation techniques are ideal for asthmatics. Good luck.


Wii fit is fun and sort of addictive...


Someone at work recommended yoga. She's not asthmatic and not an expert or anything but did say she found it helped and she managed it even when feeling ill (with a long-term stomach issue, not a breathing thing, but said yoga helped and was doable most of the time even when she was feeling rubbish). So interesting to hear that it helps breathing specifically from someone who's been there!

On the other hand, GrannyMo, I hear you re the excuses ;). I am quite shocked now at how often I used my (really very mild then, though exercise-induced) asthma to get out of PE at school...


Well, I am a runner, when my asthma permits. When it doesn't I get on my bike instead. Swimming comes highly recommended as it is a superb form of exercise that is less challenging for asthmatics and several friends recommend Yoga to me also, same reasons as already mentioned.

The bottom line is that exercise is not only possible but it really will help. It really is good for you and will make you feel great about yourself too, but everyone has their own limitations and preferences. you need to find what you enjoy, what you are capable of, and what your body will permit you to do. Enlisting the help and advice of your asthma nurse/GP and the local sports centre/gym is wise advise.

Above all, exercise is fun (although at first it may be a shock to the system) - good luck!


Thank you everyone for your comments and encouragement. I have been to the centre and discussed my needs now we are just waiting for the dr to ok things. I have been there swimming once, and although i got very breathless it did not last. I shall be going again.

Sorry it has taken me so long to acknowledge your postings but have just gone back to work this week and of course coming home all I did was sleep. Still managed the week and if I can develop my stamina going to the gym things should improve. Seeing what some of you do is so encouraging thank you


wish i cld exercise easily my Asthma is Unfortantly brght on by exercise have had to give up Horse Riding for now boohoo....cannot go nr a Leisure centre swimming Pool coxz of the Chlorine{Big Trigger} i have an Exercise Bike at home which i use wen i can war my MBT Trainers 3X a week for 8 hrs in Work.....have other Gym Equitment at home and use when i can


It isn't always 'easy' to exercise even for people who do not have asthma, but even when it is hard, you can get that good feeling of accomplishment from just doing what you can.

I had to pull out of a half marathon today, but I am happy that I managed to run 3 miles. Would have been happier to have done the 13, but I still feel good cos I know a lot of folk couldn't even do the 3.

It's hard sometimes, I know, but focus on what you CAN rather than what you CAN'T.

Good luck everyone, stick at it!


Really great to hear you exercise, infact getting out of breath is great for asthma, doing so increases the amount of carbon dioxide within the lungs which is what you need to achive with asthma. Many asthmatics overbreathe and you need to slow it down and restore the co2 / o2 balance. too much oxygen dries the airways out, making them irritable and then you get symptoms.


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