British Lung Foundation
35,859 members43,176 posts

Balance between exercise and lung issues

Hi all,

I hope you're all well. This is my first post. I'm 39 and I live in Greece.

Apologies in advance. I hate to whinge, but I feel like I need some help and this looks like such a friendly place! So here goes...!

I have sensitive lungs (had pneumonia 10 years ago, and they've been funny ever since). I exercise quite a lot (football twice a week) and I was quite fit back in June. In July I caught a cold which went to my chest. I took antibiotics for a week, but nothing happened (just kept getting worse). Then I switched antibiotics, and it seemed like it got better. Doc said she could hear the phlegm, but nothing else, so just to take it easy for a while. That was early August. I ran a couple of times in August, then did a CAT scan (just to be sure that things are ok), and the CAT scan said I had errr... I'm not sure what, but the doctor wasn't happy. I know it's funny that I don't know, but they were big words, and I forgot.

Now back on antibiotics (clarithromycin this time) even though the doc said I could jog as long as it wasn't strenuous.

Additionally, I have asthma, and I've been on inhalers (twice daily) for years now. I'm always on fluticasone propionate (corticosteroid inhaler) along with montelukast pills. After July, my doses have been upped along with the antibiotics (and it doesn't look like they're going to go down for a few months).

Here are my questions:

1. How do I know when the jog is strenuous?

2. Let's say I overdo it because I'm a bit of an idjit. How bad could it be?

3. Generally speaking, how do you keep a balance between being fit and not harming yourself, when your lungs have been playing up for almost 3 months.

There's one final bit of info I'd like to mention. I'm a stressed out kinda guy (unfortunately), and my exercise is my relief. So, even though my parents and friends say "just relax, so you don't play footie for a bit... so what?", I'm actually going crazy.

All advice is gratefully accepted.

Many thanks for listening/reading! :-)

13 Replies

I can only answer from the perspective of my own particular lung issue : COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). With COPD you can exercise as hard as you are able and push yourself as much as you like. This is because you will get far too breathless to be able to carry on long before you reach any level of exercise that could prove in any way damaging. In COPD the more you exercise the better. My advice to you would be first and foremost to contact your doctor and ask for clarification on what your lung problem is and write down the name. When you know what you have you can stat deciding what you may/may not do.


hi sner.. it really dont take much to phone or go back to your doctor and ask for the results of your CAT scan.

dont be embarrassed that you forgot as that could happen to anyone.

i think you can even just phone the hospital and give them your hospital number and they will tell you what the diagnosis was.

1 like

Hi Sner. In my experience (I've had a few chest infections) it takes quite a while to fully recover and they make you very very tired. Although it's not the same (and yes, I'd rather do aerobic exercise too these days), you may want to consider something gentler like yoga while you are recovering. I think this may speed up your recovery. I have felt tired for weeks after an infection has cleared and from what I can gather this is quite normal, especially if you have asthma. Doctors having upped your inhalers is a good thing and they may prescribe a short course of oral steroids, which would help. I hope you start feeling better soon.


Hi sner

My advice would be stop being the "idjit" when it comes to your health, you are fairly cream cracked when your lungs eventually fail you. I too was a bit like you, exercise 7 days a week. As my lungs got worse I had to ease up. My body told me, so listen to yours, think about what tomorrow will be like when you are not able to breath and are so fatigued. I ended up doing pilates. It's really good and you can get a sweat on doing it.

I now am not able to do much, I have rheumatoid arthritis moderate to severe. It's in my jaw, shoulders, r collar bone, both hands and wrists, and bad in my right ankle. I now use a wheelchair to do shopping etc. Crutches are painful at the best of times. I furniture surf around the house. Some days it's that bad I am not able to get dressed.

Difficult to accept and life changing, but please change your stress release method to something that is a bit more kinder to your body and health. ☺

1 like

1. How do I know when the jog is strenuous?

When you feel your heart rate going up and you start getting REALLY breathless, and coughing.

2. Let's say I overdo it because I'm a bit of an idjit. How bad could it be?

If you overdo things too much, you could end up a dead idjit. Asthma is not something to be taken lightly. I thought it was once. I made the same mistake. Once bitten and all that. Now my inhaler goes everywhere with me, and I know to take things easy.

If you're on Montelukast, your exarcebations are obviously quite bad. I had a bad spell back in 2012 through to 2013. I was put on Montelukast then. I'm still on it 5 years later.

3. Generally speaking, how do you keep a balance between being fit and not harming yourself, when your lungs have been playing up for almost 3 months.

Best thing I think I could advise is to look for a local BLF Breathe Easy group. There's currently 250 up and down the U.K so hopefully there will be one not too far from you. There you will get a lot of support and advice. Attached to some of these is a weekly Active exercise class. The BLF also has some good information about keeping active with a lung condition here:

It might also be an idea to ask your GP or respiratory specialist to refer you for Pulmonary Rehabilitation. This will also help with exercises to strengthen your lungs so you don't put yourself at harm.

Good luck.


You guys are the best. Many many thanks for all the replies. First thing to do is figure out what's what!

Seriously, I really appreciate all the advice.

Hope you're all well (not worse than usual at least) and you stay well!

1 like

Hi Sner

I have chronic asthma and on so much medication I rattle! It has, however, meant I don't have so many attacks.

As for the exercise, listen to your body! Walking can be just as effective as running, in fact better for your knees! You could run for 2 minutes and then walk for 5.

The other thing I found absolutely fantastic for asthma is going to the Salt Cave. I have found a link (below) for one in Greece. Not sure where you are exactly but worth checking it out.

Really hope you find a solution. Your health is everything! Don't mess with it.

Good luck!


That's incredible. That salt cave is 500m from my house!!! Definitely checking that out. Thanks Ozhoose!


Dear sner, for what it's worth, the salt caves did nothing for my asthma (CS and montelukast too, a pretty bad exacerbation) but it definitely helps with colds (cured my cold in less than 40 minutes!). Good luck with it thought. :) Diana


Hi Sner I too use montelukast pills with my preventative inhaler and cannot manage without them. When I had my CAT scan I was diagnosed with Bronchiectasis which basically is damaged air ways. Perhaps you have similar problems. I find cycling on the flat, yoga, swimming or pilates are the only exercises I can do. I hope this helps you.


I was born into an Asthmatic family when the NHS was very new. By the time I was 6 I had added bronchiectasis to my problems but I was in my early 50's before I found that out. I had simply told employers/friends that I had bronchial asthma! as a child I was activly preventee from doing excersise which I now regret as I have no interest in excresise at all.

I have been on Montelukast for some years and I have learnt that if I don't take it the next morning I am in a poor way. I actually do a Peak Flow check every morning as part of my drug taking activity. If I missed my last tablet my reading is always much reduced. I was quite shocked the first time it happened but at least I realised why I felt rotten first thing!


Generally speaking, the rule is the same in absolutely every illness - go on until you can't anymore. Which will come to mean: do your excercise until you feel breathless. Some days for me this means I can't even go up the stairs to the third floor. On other days I can have a 40-minute ellyptical cardio session. Asthma is like that for some of us - unpredictable. But if you know your body well enough (I'm as restless as you are, trust me), all will be good. Just listen to your body.



Dear All,

Thank you all for your posts and support. The latest is that they think I have chronic eosinophilic pneumonia, but I've still got to do a bunch of tests. I did a bronchoscopy a few days ago. I wrote about the experience on my property blog (nothing to do with health, but there you go...!) if anyone is curious!

Still no exercise allowed, but once all the tests are complete (and if they're right), they're saying I can play again 10 days after the therapy starts (cortisone pills apparently).

Meanwhile, my wife is pregnant with number 3, so I had to run home from work today to take care of her!!! Oh isn't life exciting...!!!

Hope you're all well and thanks once more!!!

1 like

You may also like...