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Inhalers and Exercise

Hi All

I would really like some advice on exercise induced asthma. I had asthma as a child and came off inhalers when I was 14, I'm now 29 and the last few years I've had mild symptoms returning - a particular trigger being exercise.

I love to exercise and like to push myself so particularly enjoy curcuits and jogging. I often find that I'm wheezing at the end of sessions but the last few weeks I've also been getting tight chested. If I know I'm going to do a particularly tough class I take my inhaler 15mins before, if I get tight chested during then i usually manage to push through. But the past few weeks I've also felt tight chested after more gentle classes like zumba.

I went to my GP last summer, my chest was clear when I saw him but he said I had classic symptoms and the history so prescribed me a salbutamol inhaler and asked me to come back in few weeks which I never did

Is it ok to keep taking salbutamol before exercising? - I don't want to become reliant on it so try and avoid it if I can and sometimes wonder if I'm just unfit or its all in my mind.

Any advice apprechiated, I hate making a fuss and don't want to see my GP unnecessarily!

Holls X

4 Replies

Hi Holls and welcome!

Seems to me that if you do lots of exercise normally and you're getting more out of breath then it's probably asthma-related - if you were just unfit, which seems unlikely with all that (I haven't done zumba but my mum thought it was pretty intense - on the other hand I get SOB doing yoga right now), then you ought to be getting LESS SOB as you do more exercise, surely?

As far as I know - and I'm not an expert or anything - there is no problem with taking the reliever before exercise and whenever you need it. You can't get reliant on it, but if you are finding you're having a lot of symptoms and feeling like you need it more, even if you're trying not to take it, then you should probably go back to your GP as this is a sign the asthma isn't being properly controlled and he may want to try you on a preventer again (I presume you had something when you were younger as you say 'inhalers'?)

tbh if you're at the stage where you're worried about becoming reliant on it or taking too much then I would say you definitely need to go back to the GP - it's not making a fuss at all, it's very sensible as you should be able to exercise etc without these symptoms and the GP should be able to help with that.


I had excercise induced asthma in my teenage years caused by running and swimming. I used ti take two puffs ventolin and 3-4 intal capsules before any form of training and then ventollin as and when needed during and after excercise. At the time was fairly limited to what I could take medcine wise as A.S.A. where very strict on what medcines you could take and did regular drugs checks. If you are not doing the sport competitively then the medcine options should be extensive. If you are undertaking competitions then you need to check which medcines you are allowed to take. I would go back to your GP if you are experiencing problems as it probably means you nedd to start to add in preventor medication to help get your asthma back under control. If you are used to excerciing regulalary you are not likely to be unfit and its likely your asthma is misbehaving....


Good advice from the others. It's normal to take your inhaler before exercise to prevent symptoms , but it seems your symptoms are becoming worse and more frequent, so I think it's worth talking about this to your GP. You wouldn't be wasting their time. They may suggest a preventer, there's no point letting things continue as they are or possibly get worse. Lou x


I have exercise induced asthma, started in my 20's when I was regularly exercising. Im now 38 and at the moment am not able to exercise at all. I have put on 8 stone since my diagnosis due to not being able to exercise and taking so many steroids. I managed Zumba up until last year, and I found that smothering myself in vick before a class really helped. I know its not what you want to hear, I hope you find a solution.


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