We are fast approaching the last month of 2013–where did this year go? Can I really be another year older?
We’ve talked about New Year’s Resolutions in the past and how the #1 resolution continues to be weight loss. Many will turn to diet and exercise to achieve their weight loss goals but may not know about exercise-induced asthma, a condition that could stand in their way.
Symptoms of Exercise Induced Asthma
Those who suffer from exercise-induced asthma may suffer from any of the following while exercising:
- Tight chest
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
It’s important to note that if you’re new to working out and are experiencing slight shortness of breath you probably don’t have exercise-induced asthma (EIA). As you begin a new workout program you’ll likely be out of breath which is not uncommon although you’ll always want to discuss your health with a medical professional before beginning a new workout program. It can, however, be difficult to determine what is EIA and what is a normal physiological response to exercise.
Exercise induced asthma is induced by physical exertion. It is characterized by coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath during or after exercise. One of the major symptoms of EIA is coughing after coming inside from being active outdoors or not being able to run for more than a few minutes without stopping.
Diagnosing EIA can be tricky but there are a few different things you can do. The first is to pay attention to your symptoms. If you find yourself coughing after exercise, wheezing while you’re exercising, etc. write it down. Pay attention to what you are doing before or while you have symptoms and bring this information to your doctor.
If your doctor suspects you have EIA he or she may have you perform a breathing test after exercising to see what your symptoms are like.
The majority of treatments for EIA tend to be proactive instead of reactive. Treatments aim to prevent asthma flare ups during exercise. Treatments typically include inhalers but if you are looking for something more natural there are a variety of options you can try.
- Licorice Root has long been used for upper respiratory infections, cough and asthma.
- Omega-3 supplements may also be beneficial. Omega-3s are known for reducing inflammation which may help reduce constriction and tightness in the chest.
- Antioxidants can help decrease free radical activity (which stimulates inflammation).
- Oregano Oil is another antioxidant that may also help clear breathing for healthy respiratory support.
- Magnesium is a mineral that may offer a natural bronchodilating effect to help open up the airway when it can be difficult to breathe.
There are also steps you can take to help prevent flare ups when you’re exercising.
- Warm up before beginning your exercise. For more information on the importance of a warm up and how to warm up check out my previous blog post here.
- Keep your immune system in check and do your best to avoid colds and other respiratory infections. You may want to look into an immune system boosting supplement. Be sure to wash your hands often too as this can help prevent the spread of germs.
- Breath through your nose if possible. This can help warm the air before it goes into your lungs.
- Keep your mouth and nose covered if you are exercising outside in the cold weather.
Exercise-induced asthma can make exercising more difficult but it is no reason not to exercise. Check out the video below to learn how athletes have overcome their asthma to be successful.