tips on regular excercise routine

Hi All. Can anybody advise me on a healthy fitness regime that I can follow a couple of times a week. I am newly diagnosed with moderate bronchial asthma and still in recovery from a couple of asthma attacks. I have been told not to do any strenuous exercise for another Month, but can someone help me with some advice on what I can do after I have come out of my flare up stage. I have spoken to a couple of personal trainers, but they won't advise me as they say I need to seek advise fro

A physio. I used to be reasonably fit, I eat a fairly healthy diet, but I won't to exercise again. I have my dogs that I can walk, but once my asthma is stable I would like to extend and improve and build up my stamina. Please if anyone has any advise, or knows anyone who can help, I would really appreciate it. I look forward to your replies x

6 Replies

  • Everyones asthma responds differently to exercise. For some it's their main/only trigger and for others it's not. So what suits one of us may not suit another when it comes to exercising.

    One of your main priorities should be to work with your asthma team, at your gp surgery or hospital clinic, to get your asthma as well controlled as possible. Being newly diagnosed it'll take some time and trial and error with meds to find the ones that work best for you. If it's well controlled then you shouldn't have many problem exercising, although you may have to take some reliever 15/20 minutes before you start exercising to prevent symptoms.

    You will need to build up the intensity of exercise after a flare up. Start very gently and for short periods of time, if it goes well next time either build the intensity or the time. The lungs need a bit of time to adjust, so be careful. Go when your pf is good (80% or more) and be prepared to abandon planned exercise sessions during or even before you start if your pf is lower or you think you might struggle or if there are triggers around like smoke/pollen/cold air. I have been told off by nurses/doctors enough times for exercising too soon after an attack, but my base level fitness is very high and you've got to start somewhere, otherwise you'll never know. My asthma is not well controlled, so I have to make the most of when I feel well and will go out for a run spontaneously, equally, many planned sessions/events have had to be abandoned, after all, sometimes sitting on the sofa can feel as hard work as a marathon when asthma is playing up.

    Have a look at the exercise page (if you haven't already), under living with asthma in the Knowledge bank at the top of the page. Some good stuff there about what sports etc to do, like swimming (not if chlorine irritates your lungs) or cycling etc. It does talk about being well controlled. I'd love it if they produced some information about exercising with poorly controlled asthma. I think it would just have to say it's a bit hit and miss and risky too. Bit of a risk/benefit/reward balance.

  • Thanks Lou, that's very helpful. I just hope I can get this flare up under control and I can start to feel in control of my life again. X

  • Hey :)

    I had issues with exercise a few months back and have now just given up going to the gym! Instead I've started doing Pilates which has really helped. With pilates you can tailor the intensity to how you feel and do it at home. There are loads of videos on YouTube so it's free too (blogilates is really good)! I've found it really helps because you can increase your stamina and strength without getting out of breath. It feel like you've spent hours at the gym after 10 minutes!

    I'd really recommend you try it, if it doesn't work you can just stop! You don't need any equipment (I just use a folded towel on the floor since I haven't got round to getting a mat yet!).

    Hope you get some control back soon!

  • Thanks Rachel x

  • Weights and interval training are my recommendations. Lifting has made a massive difference to my life. And I mean proper lifting, not barbie weights (you know the kind under 4kgs and usually pink). Lifting is such a buzz. Go for barbells, dumbbells or kettlebells rather than machine weights.

    As for what lifts to try, go for things like bench presses, squats and deadlifts not isolation exercises. You won’t bulk up as you don’t have the right hormone profile (I’m presuming from your user ID that you’re female).

    You will need to experiment to find what suits you best when it comes to cardio. I find walking at a moderate pace for 10 minutes or so then segments of walk run walk run in about 30 second bites for another 10 minutes is a good place to start from.

    Alternatively you could try kettlebell complexes as a combination of strength and cardio in one.

    I’d steer clear of classes for the time being until your fitness level is back on a more even footing and you’ve settled into your medication and how asthma impacts your aerobic capacity. Classes are great because they encourage people to push themselves harder, but this isn’t ideal if you’re a newly diagnosed asthmatic or an asthmatic who hasn’t exercised much. I’m guilty of pushing myself too hard or not easing up the pace when I should at my martial arts classes from time to time.

    Training “alone” allows you to set your own pace and ease off or take a break if you need to. The flip side of this is that I’d recommend working out at a staffed gym or with a training buddy or at least in a gym where there are other people within helping distance. That way if you suddenly find yourself in need of help, it should be easier to obtain than if you were working out alone.

    There will be set-backs. There will be times when you can’t train. It will be frustrating. When you do have to take a break from training (be it for days or for weeks) ease back into your routine and don’t fret the reduction in capabilities, you will regain them quickly.

    Exercise will not make you asthma go away. It will help reduce the amount you need to take your reliever just going about your daily business. It will help you control your weight (weight gain is something many asthmatics struggle with). Most importantly it will help you boost your mood and make you feel better about life in gerenal.

  • In terms of gradually increasing your aerobic exercise, whether thats walking, cycling, swimming etc, the 'couch to 5K' apps are brilliant. They start by alternating walking with jogging, so you might do a ten minute warm up, 30 seconds of faster walking/cycling/swimming/jogging (whatever works for you) followed by a couple of minutes slower, then alternating. Over the coming weeks it increases the faster stuff really gradually.

    I can do this on my indoor exercise bike, (I only have 25% lung capacity, COPD & asthma) - I keep the same pace, but change from first gear to second gear to slightly increase intensity, instead of speeding up, which I can't cope with.

    The iPhone app is 5K free for PINK by ZenLabs.

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