BAM! Body and Mind
Physical Activity
Meeting The Challenge

Don't Let Asthma Keep You Out of the Game

Today, more than ever, asthma is not a barrier to physical activity. In fact, if you keep your asthma under control, you can do it all! Need proof? Well, did you know that:
Asthma didn't hold them back, and it shouldn't hold you back, either!

Who has asthma?
Asthma — which makes it hard to breathe, and causes coughing and wheezing — affects about five million American kids and teens? That's almost 1 in 10!

Famous people like rapper Coolio have asthma, although he's better known for his hit songs like "Gangsta's Paradise" than for his fight against the illness. Olympians like Misty Hyman and Amy VanDyken, Tom Dolan and Karen Furneaux, and Kurt Grote also have asthma.

Physical Activity → Asthma?
Image of Nate riding a bikeThings like cold or dry air, dust, pollen, pollution, cigarette smoke, or stress can "trigger" asthma. This can make your body pump out chemicals that close off your airways, making it hard for air to get into to your lungs, and causing an asthma attack.

Physical activity can trigger asthma attacks too. Experts don't know for sure why physical activity sometimes brings one on, but they suspect that fast breathing through the mouth (like happens when you get winded) can irritate the airways. In addition, when air pollution levels are high, physical activity in the afternoon is harder on the lungs than morning activity — pollution levels raise later in the day.

Get Fit
So, should you get a doctor's note and skip gym class? Sorry, no. Doctors want their asthma patients to get active, especially in asthma-friendly activities like these: swimming, bicycling, golf, inline skating, and weightlifting.

Why are these good choices if you want to be physically active?
Getting regular physical activity can improve your breathing, and lead to fewer asthma attacks. Just remember to follow these tips. (In fact, this is good advice for everyone, not just those with asthma.)
Feel Good
To feel your best, do the right stuff to control your asthma. And listen to your doctors — they're on your team!

According to Dr. Stephen Redd, an asthma expert at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people with asthma "should expect to live a life that really isn't affected by asthma, except for having to follow the directions." He also says to speak up if you are having symptoms, and remember to "keep a good attitude and keep working to control the disease." (Wanna read the full disease detective profile?)

So, get out there and get moving! With good habits and today's medicines, you can go for the gold — or just join your friends on the basketball court, in the pool, on the dance floor...

Need more proof?

Click to view sources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd, Atlanta, GA 30333, U.S.A
Tel: (404) 639-3311 / Public Inquiries: (404) 639-3534 / (800) 311-3435