Asthma is a chronic illness which has been affecting more than twenty-five million U.S. citizens since 2009. Given the fact that in 2001, asthma affected “only” twenty million people (1 in 14 citizens), we can see that the number of people with asthma is increasing with each passing year.
This common malady, although in most cases non-fatal, can be extremely taxing on the body, preventing you from partaking in vigorous exercise, decreasing your quality of life, and even putting your life in danger should you experience an attack. And the triggers are everywhere.
Exercise-induced asthma is arguably the most prevalent type, and while it’s not exactly easy to live with, it certainly doesn’t mean that you cannot subdue its effects and even weed it out of your life completely over time. The key is to keep on fighting no matter what.
Here is how you can optimize your training when you have asthma and banish it from your system for good!
Warm up properly
Diving straight into your workout without taking the time to properly warm up is a bad idea even for professional athletes who have been competing for twenty years. Why should you think it’s a smart idea for you, who can have an asthma attack at any moment?
Indeed, it’s not an easy thing to hear or accept, but if it takes ten minutes for the average Joe to warm up, then you should start with twenty minutes, and then work on decreasing your time. Warming up gradually by working with multi-joint movements such as air squats, kettlebell swings and presses will allow you to transition into more vigorous warm-up exercises such as sprints, climbs, and so forth. This will prime your lungs and your entire system to better withstand the upcoming workout.
Stick your nose out the window
Believe it or not, it not only matters how you work out, but also when you choose to do so, according to the American Thoracic Society. Weather conditions can play a big role in triggering or subduing your asthma symptoms while exercising, and it’s better for an asthmatic to train in warmer conditions than inhale cold air during moments of vigorous exercise.
That doesn’t mean you should ditch your morning runs during the winter or that you shouldn’t follow your CrossFit buddies outside for a grueling workout in the snow, but it does mean that you can prevent or lessen the symptoms of asthma if you simply wear a mask over your face to warm up the air.
Stay safe and exercise with caution
The battle against asthma attacks and symptoms begins at home. Outside air is filled with all kinds of nasty pollutants, chemicals, bacteria, viruses, debris, you name it. You don’t need that stuff in your home, especially if your lungs are under constant strain.
If you manage to cleanse the air of hazardous elements in your home, you will create a safe environment where they can rest and recuperate, and grow more resilient over time. The most cost-effective solution is to find the best air purifier that you can easily install in your bedroom or living room to boost your cardiovascular health.
Once you’ve recharged on clean air, it’s time to rock n’ roll!
Focus on endurance and strength
Pushing your limits with cardio training and GPP is essential, but training for total-body strength should also be one of your top priorities in order to build cardiovascular strength and endurance. And don’t keep it simple either, as traditional steady-state cardio won’t help you much on your path to success.
You want to stick to intermittent cardio, or tabata, and boost your overall strength with a functional sport that combines heavy lifts and fast-paced training, such as CrossFit or Strongman. Remember the aforementioned steps, keep your eyes on the prize, use your inhaler if you have to, and don’t stop until you’ve won!
Cool off slowly and stay active
Finally, you might have done everything right, and an attack can come after your workout. Don’t worry, this is common, but it doesn’t have to happen if you follow the proper cooldown protocol. Rather than coming to a complete stop after your cardio session, you want to continue breathing deeply, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through the mouth, while slowly decreasing intensity.
If you were sprinting, continue running and transition into a steady walk until your lungs and heartbeat have settled down. If you were doing a heavy circuit workout, just start walking, and repeat the process.
Building up your cardiovascular endurance while suffering from a chronic respiratory illness is not exactly an easy task. It will require time, effort, dedication, and maybe even a few tears along the way, but if you stick with these five rules, you will banish the nuisance from your system for good!