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Health: Five sports that won’t aggravate your asthma

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Having asthma can make you reluctant to try out some sports, or even do anything beyond gentle walking because you are concerned about having an asthma attack. In reality, for most asthmatic people, exercise is not that problematic, even if some sports trigger their asthma. As many as one in 12 Olympians at the 2016 Rio Olympics are thought to rely on asthma medication, and if they can do it, so can you!

The type of sport or exercise you do makes a big difference. If your heart rate and breathing stay elevated for periods of more than around five minutes, this is more likely to cause an attack, so activities that don’t raise your rate of breathing at all or which have staggered periods of activity and rest are the best to choose. Pick the right sport and make sure you have your inhaler available (click here to find out how to save money on asthma medicines if you need a Symbicort coupon or similar), and there is no reason why you can’t reach your peak of fitness.

Here are five sports to try:


Yoga is not only unlikely to worsen your asthma but can also improve it because of the focus on breathing as you perform the exercises. It is great for core strength, balance and stability, and also a great stress-busting activity.


If you want something more competitive and cardio focused than yoga, tennis is a good sport because the rigorous periods of activity are interspersed with plenty of breaks. You can control the pace a bit by taking your time to serve when it is your turn to allow your breathing to slow down after a strenuous few minutes of play. Most other racket sports qualify, though squash leaves less room for recovery after high-intensity plays.


Baseball is another sport where you get plenty of breaks between the parts of play (like running) that will elevate your heart rate and speed up breathing. If you want to play a sport that lets you be part of a team and have fun, baseball and softball are both asthma solid options.


Golf also has staggered activity, though never reaches the intensity levels of tennis or baseball, so can be a good thing to start with if you don’t have the fitness yet to try other sports while experiencing asthma. Aside from the mechanical parts, most of the golf is walking, which even at a brisk pace shouldn’t trigger asthma.


Swimming is ideal, because you control your breathing carefully, and the air you breathe is not dry due to the humidity of the pool environment. Your airways drying out during sport is one of the primary reasons asthma is triggered, but this doesn’t happen with swimming (or other sports that keep you close to the water like surfing).

There are loads of sports out there that asthmatics can do, so with a bit of experimentation, you are sure to find one you love!

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at [email protected]