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Asthma and sport

Updated: December 2018

Positive effect of sport on asthma

Can asthma be cured by practising sports?

In asthma, physical exertion often leads to a shortness of breath. Many sufferers are deterred by this and therefore prefer to abstain from doing sports. Their performance gradually reduces, so they finally give up exercising altogether.

However, this is not the best way as sport is the ideal respiratory therapy!

Without regular exercise, your physical fitness will decrease and shortness of breath will occur even under minimal levels of stress.

Regular endurance sports will help you to get fitter, strengthen your respiratory muscles and support your immune system. Sport improves lung function and increases the amount of oxygen in the blood.

Sport cannot cure asthma. However, it can significantly improve your overall physical condition. Exercise also has a positive effect on you mentally, because performance increases and the person concerned is more active.

You become more satisfied and more confident because you can expect more and are able to develop a lot more social contacts.

Things to bear in mind

Sport is essential in the treatment of asthma. It is important to have a consultation with the doctor treating you, as sport only should be incorporated once the asthma is already well under control.

No acute infections should be present. You can discuss with the doctor which type of sport is best for you and at what intensity and frequency.

Please also make note of whether or not there are any negative external influences. In the case of adverse external factors, such as airborne pollen, high ozone levels or cold air, you can look for alternative sports that do not take place outdoors. Perhaps visiting an indoor swimming pool is a good alternative to jogging in the woods.

A good warm-up phase is required when practising sport. Find a companion, who will not only motivate you but will also mean that you are not alone in an emergency situation. Do not forget to take your phone with you. You should always carry an emergency relief spray.

Types of sport for asthma sufferers

In principle, all endurance sports are suitable for those with asthma. If you are not yet quite up to it, you can start very slowly. Better a bit slower but more frequently than short and intense. Decide on a sport which allows you to take a break whenever you need to. Team sports are less suitable.


References:

Schmoller, T., Riedel, F. & Rabe, K. F. (2014). Living with asthma. Retrieved from www.asthma-schule.de/index.php?id=411

Erbe, B. (2015). Sport with asthma? Let’s go for it! Retrieved from www.apotheken-umschau.de/Asthma/Sport-bei-Asthma-Jetzt-erst-recht-507363.html

German Society for Pulmonology and Respiratory Medicine. Sports & freetime. Retrieved from www.lungenaerzte-im-netz.de/krankheiten/asthma-bronchiale/sport-freizeit/

Helmholtz Zentrum München (2018). How is asthma treated? Retrieved from www.lungeninformationsdienst.de/krankheiten/asthma/therapien/index.html

Kardos, P. (2015). Asthma. Retrieved from www.apotheken-umschau.de/Asthma