Log in
Asthma UK community forum
12,190 members18,123 posts

A question about exercise

Any of you had to give up sports due to your asthma?

I used to run 5-10 k a few times a week but now it is only possible after a course of pred and generally when the weather is warmer.

I also used to do kickboxing - the same as running now - I last went before Christmas but I struggled so much my trainer looked really concerned - I felt ashamed and have not been back.

I am hoping (praying) that my sinus surgery enables me to start doing sports again - I can cope using an inhaler but dont want the steroids for the rest of my life - I am taking another course now.

I appreciate that there must have been an underlying cause for my asthma but I now realise that my job is probably the biggest factor in me becoming asthmatic (a policemans lot is not a lot) I think it is probably wise to look for something else - I am in my mid 40's with two young children - my youngest is 18 months old and has Down syndrome- we were warned during my wifes pregnancy that the markers were present - this turned out to be the case but we have a beautiful little boy. Looking back this was also a stressful time.

Best of luck everybody.

18 Replies

Oh mate that sounds like a heavy load. The sports I had to give up was down my spinal cord injury, I even passed a scuba medical when my asthma was less controlled. The problem with asthma, from my experience is that you tend to have cycles of controlled symptoms and others when it decidedly isn't.

Shouldn't/Wouldn't the force be able to move you to light duties? Not every Officer needs to be chasing the local ne'er do wells down the street surely and they'd be losing all your experience. I'm asking because I don't know how the civilian disciplined forces have to abide with the EA/DDA.

Life is hard enough with a young child without all this added stress and that could well be what is making your asthma so bad right now. Don't make any rush judgements and talk it through with anyone who'll listen properly.

I hope things work out for you, I really do.


Hi there, re: sports, I've always been keen on sport and have had asthma since I was a kid. However when I was in my 30's my asthma got a lot worse, I just couldn't do anything. Endless courses of Prednisolone etc. unable to walk upstairs. I decided that I had to just doing something, so even though pathetic, small amounts of exercise. I realized that when you are sick it's really tough to exercise , but now I do something, I tailor gym sessions according to how I feel, much less weight, fewer reps, Less time. I also try to walk, even 0.5 of a k . Everyday. However Bad the breathing I try to do something 6 days a week. Unless I have an infection. So if I have a fever I give myself a break. It ends up that when things are good I can increase everything.

For example, I ran a half marathon on 16th Dec. on 18th Dec, I was crawling upstairs. Then on On 25 days of Prednisolone, nebulizer etc. On the 3rd of feb managed to run a charity Half marathon that I'd been entered for for months, albeit crap time. This is only possible because I do as much as I can even when sick. When I'm ill I would rather not get out of bed. But now I know that any little bit of Exercise really really helps my lung function, particularly doing weight training.

Things do change with Asthma. Do what you can. And very good luck. Even a little is good even if nowhere near what you know you can do.



See an Alexander Technique teacher. You learn may some useful things. Asthma is too convenient a label. You have a set of symptoms. What is the cause for the symptoms?

Your job demands toughness and being strong. Being strong can play havoc with breathing. You may need to lose your being strong for more flexibility and easier breathing. An Alexander teacher will let you experience this and you will see what I mean.

1 like

By "strong" do you mean physical strength or mental strength?

1 like

Thanks for the reply. Muscles which are very tight can give the illusion of being strong. Muscles are at their strongests at their longest length. When muscles contract they bulk up. The more the muscles contract the weaker they become. Also the less maneuverable they can become.

How I have been able convey an idea of what I am getting at.


I think what you are saying here is that stress induced muscle tension will be worse in people who are physically strong because their muscles are more powerful. Or have I got that wrong?


Thanks for pointing out the confusion.

I will try again. As a muscle fiber contracts it gets weaker. The greater the contraction the weaker the muscle fiber becomes. When you flex your arm your biceps get harder and the muscle bulk of the biceps is easier to see.

Muscles consist of many muscle fibers. The more fibres are recruited when doing a contraction the stronger the muscle. However what sometimes happens is that there is a failure to recruit enough fibres to do a particular task. When this happens there is an attempt to put in more effort. More effort can be more fibers or more contraction. More contraction means less strength and you can get in a positive feedback loop. More strength needed so more contraction occurs and weaker strength resulting.

Going though muscles are capillaries. The capillaries are the width of one blood corpuscle. When the muscle contracts the blood supply carrying nutrients and taking away waste products is clamped shut. In manny many uses of muscle the muscle contracts and stops contracting and lengthens out again by forces external to the muscle. Sometimes the muscle has over contracted. Here the muscle does not lengthen out again.

Hope I have managed to give a better picture of the situation.


I had stressful job for 2 years and so that and nasal polops has meant I now have a breathing disordered pattern. I initially assumed my asthma was really bad as running for a bus left me unable to breathe properly for around an hour and chest felt like it would explode. I then had such a severe asthma attack I was rushed into A and E after vigourous house cleaning so absolutely petrified of any exercise and stopped boot camp. Post nasal surgery I have to re learn how to breathe (crazy I know) and get back to exercising. Children are indeed a blessing !

1 like

If I do vigorous house cleaning I would get bad asthma.....I am allergic to dust mites.Is it possible you could be?

I do clean but always dust with a damp cloth and have a good vacuum with a HEPA filter.


Wherever possible I now use a dusting brush appliance on my hoover for dusting. Even with damp dusting there is a risk that some dust will be 'displaced' rather than 'removed'.


Yes. I do that too! I use my vacuum to remove dust on pretty well everything.......even the dog!(not allergic to her) then damp dust afterwards. I also have a room air filter in bedroom and lounge. Plus was able curtains in house. Bedroom ones washed every couple of months and lounge ones about twice yearly.

Ah! The joys of allergic asthma!!

All seems to help me in any event.

1 like

Oh and my asthma nurse said stopping exercise was the worst thing I could do bring asthmatic but too scared after A and E incident ....


Try a form of exercise that has short bursts of aerobic exercise. That's why I find ballet so good (I also love doing it), but any form of dance will do.


Hi Brenviking.

I'm a woman 46 diagnosed with asthma as a baby. I've been ill with asthma for the last 2 weeks with a viral infection induced asthma. I'm on my second lot of pred steroid tablets.

Q1. How long have you been diagnosed with asthma for?

Q2. How are you feeling in yourself now?

"Stress is a common asthma trigger. An asthma trigger is anything that brings on asthma symptoms. When you have stress and asthma, you might feel short of breath, anxious, and even panicked. Stress may cause your asthma symptoms to worsen and cause you to feel frightened. "


Q3 Is there anyone else you can talk to about your stressful job as a policeman? And if you feel it could be triggering your asthma.

Being of mixed race i have always been into sports starting at school and been not bad at various sports, swimming, netball, rounders, track 800 meters, 100 meters, squash, walking, badminton, tennis, long distance running, road cycling, home exercise bike.

If it's windy outside, seems to throw me with doing exercise. Although i can sometimes still do it when it's windy outside, but it makes it alot harder and i can't perform as well. Sometimes i do have to just not do it, although i try and not let it get me down too much. I know it will pass and i will be feeling better in a pretty short time.

Q2. How long have you had to give up sports for?

I hope your sinus surgery does enable you to gain some of your exercise life back again.

I was meant to have an knee op on Monday but i'm not well enough now so been cancelled for another month. All my sporting events have basically stopped due to my knee pain.

I do feel for you.

You're not alone in your frustration, confusion, impatience hope having your surgery will help things for you, and so you can go back to some form of exercise and happiness that you had before.

Your little boy sounds precious. It sounds like you have been through alot, try and keep being kind to yourself and don't try and put too much pressure onto yourself.


1 like

Hi - sounds like you are having a really tricky time with lots of stress.

I've really had to cut down on exercise recently due to asthma flare ups. I'm trying to get more active again. For me (for now) this means finding low impact indoor activities. My allergies have gone into overdrive in the last few years so outdoor stuff really doesn't work well for me. So I've started with yoga again. Hoping it ll help me relax too.

Stress is a big trigger for me and very hard to avoid.

My 4 amazing kids all have asthma and my oldest is autistic. Some days it feels like I've had a good aerobic workout by the time I've chased everyone round the house with meds and inhalers.

Hope you manage to find the balance you need for your family life and asthma.

Good luck xxx

1 like

Thank you for the comments. I have always had sinus problems and I have had to breath through my mouth which is not good.

I have been on annual leave for a week and have a week left - due to lack of numbers leave is difficult to get - however I find myself thinking about what I am going back into next week - no doubt much of the things I asked for will not be done and I will be two weeks behind.


Firstly you never need to feel ashamed. Ever. Just because you are having trouble breathing.

I take inhaled steroids every day. Would rather not ......but general fitness is better with them by far. I do not run or kick box,I walk quickly.....same speed as most joggers ......and swim. I always walk up stairs...no lifts! Plus Pilates. Seems to work! For me anyway .

1 like

I was diagnosed with brittle asthma at the age of 18 - now 22. Asthma has meant I have had to give up all of my sports and limited my job options...

BUT in reality I have found that by being determined to get my chest to the best it can be and actually relaxing and doing all of the 'right' things all of the time, I will get back to being able to do sport. Aim of my game is to get back onto a hockey pitch!


You may also like...