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Asthma and exercise question

Ash123445 profile image

Hi all, so I just have a few questions about exercise and asthma if anyone can help.

I am on inhalers for my asthma and I'm pretty overweight so I want to loose about 4 stone to get me back down to healthier weight. How would it be to best proceed with cardio training with asthma? I am pretty unfit to be fair and I just want to make sure I do it the right way so I don't put myself of doing it.

Also if anyone knows how long until you start to notice improved fitness after starting doing cardio exercises that would be great.

Many thanks

13 Replies

I lost 4 stone over months and could really do with loosing some more my ideal Bob on according to bmi is 70kg and I'm 103kg... so about 30kg but I think if I lost that much weight I would look odd.... scarily I must have been about 8 stone over weight

So when I started Loosing weight the doctors told me between 0.5lb and 2lb was a 'healthy' amount to loose a week..... at first it comes off quickly as you loose water weight and then it wil slow down a little

And the answer to how is best to proceed is, it needs to be a challenge, but not soo challenging you are killing yourself .... getting breathless and feeling your heart and lungs working is 'good'

As for improved fitness its a slow process to notice improvement so say a few weeks ... to be fair I used to walk 10,000 steps every day and up and down hills around the local area and when I started I was breathless as hell and when I decided I'd lost enough for now I was taking a back pack filled with water bottles, jacket and a towel (mostly just to make it a bit more of a challenge) .... and it was getting easier and I was doing it faster

Well, I wouldn't personally start with cardio but start with regular moderate exercise that made me puff and build up to cardio as I lost weight or once the weight was lost, if your heart (no pun intended) is set on doing cardio. Carrying an extra 4 stone (that's two full suitcases) while going from zero exercise to full on cardio could lead to problems.

In addition to the moderate exercise you could add in resistance exercise which will build up muscle strength, muscle eats calories, plus it will help your core strength which in turn makes your body more able to tolerate aerobic exercise further down the road.

I changed my eating habits in May after a poor asthma review and raised blood pressure results. Unlike previous attempts, this is motivated by improving my health rather than primarily losing weight, so I'm not weighing myself but keeping track of my BP and asthma. By 1 August I was able to come off my LAMA inhaler as my asthma has really improved and my BP is now down 16 points. I'm so much fitter and I haven't had to hit the gym (which I hate - been there, done that, can't maintain it).

Initially I thought I'd do this for a year, but it's so easy and I feel so good I doubt I'll stop. My asthma nurse referred me to the surgery's health coach and by the time I had my first appointment I had already been intermittent fasting for 5 weeks. I slowly introduced keto and I rarely feel hungry or have cravings. She was very surprised that I had started without her and that I had chosen something they advocate. As she says, low calorie diets just don't work long term, which I knew as I've done many but always put the weight back on, and they're a slog as every day you feel like your denying yourself and have to battle hunger & cravings, dreaming of the day you can have chips & chocolate again.

I agree with Poobah. Have a look at Keto lifestyle/eating plan. Lots of people seem to have success with this. If you are on Facebook there are groups that have very inspirational stories about keto.

Well done - your asthma will improve if you lose weight and as you lose weight exercise will become easier. If you take your blue ventolin before exercise and start slowly - no jogging just walking to start. Then build up by walking quicker, more uphill etc it will be just great. Try Nordic walking as it uses your arms as well and is often available in groups. Monitor your peak flow daily and update onto your smart phone a’ good with your weight.

If you find walking painful in your joints you could possibly look at cycling or swimming which are both low impact but will strengthen the muscles which in turn will reduce the pain of walking, cycling doesn't even need to be outdoors these days!

Walking at a suitable pace is a good start. You can always do hill walks when ( and if) you want more challenge

I wear a fitness tracker and my average heart rate when walking is often higher than during a cardio session! I do live in a hilly area but a walk or 2 every day at a pace that suits you is a safe way to go and will allow you to build up gradually. Personally I don’t agree with the drastic diets like keto, I think if you’re focusing on getting enough veggies and protein you should do fine without cutting entire food groups out and I’ve heard people say that keto can make you feel isolated when you can’t join in meals with others or go to restaurants, and the long term results aren’t very promising (probably because people can’t maintain it for very long).

It’s boring advice but slow and steady is really best. You may want to do the same route regularly and time yourself every once in a while to see if you can walk quicker, you probably won’t feel a difference but you’ll see a difference in times.

I got asthma at 60 and only started running after 4 years. Its a slow process to lose weight and build fitness - I started slow walking / short distances on grass (better for joints) and built up from that - I lost 2 stone but over 2.5 years. Its not easy but worth it - and it does get easier. Diet is very important. If you can try and get a heart recording watch or something so you can check you are not over doing it. Always carry your in-hailer when exercising and try and enjoy it - do different walks

Good luck mate Colin.

Your GP can refer you to the Exercise Referral Scheme if your BMI is under a certain number. Exercise would be supervised and they take into account your medical conditions.

Ask your GP about going to a pulmonary rehab class - it would make an excellent start and it's all under medical supervision.

I started with walking. Use your rescue inhaler before you go. Start with what you can do and build on that.

Walk at a comfortable pace and then walk quicker for 10 - 20 seconds and then slow down to regular pace. Once you are breathing regularly again, walk faster again for 10-20 seconds and then slow down. Repeat. It increases endurance slowly without stressing out your lungs.

I walked off 50 lbs. The first 12 was by walking alone. Then I made better food choices. More fruit and vegetables, less calories from carbs and smaller portions. I use the LoseIt app to track intake.

I walk every day... Mostly because I have dogs that like to walk. 😁

Walk more. Keep listening to your lungs. Don't over do it. Slow and steady.

I swim, as for me, it doesn't trigger my asthma unlike most other exercise... I take inhaler beforehand.I also walk on the flat....hills are a trigger.

Good luck.

Really recommend breathing through the nose as much as possible whilst excercising. Will help reduce the chance of inflamming the lungs due to inhaling high quantities of cold, unfiltered air. Enjoy!

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