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Can I exercise if I have asthma?

Brian Gelbman, MD
Pulmonary Disease

Most asthma patients can exercise; it's believed that adrenaline released during exercise can help open airways. Watch pulmonologist Brian Gelbman, MD, discuss what to consider before exercising, and the type of asthma that could trigger an attack.

You may be afraid to exercise because of your asthma, but maintaining your fitness is good for lung function. And exercise can help you maintain your weight, too, which is good for your asthma. Be sure to get your doctor's permission and advice before beginning any exercise program. Gentle activities such as walking, hiking, swimming and cycling may be ideal. And a gradual warm-up and cool-down could help prevent symptoms. If you have exercise-induced asthma, take your medication as prescribed before workouts. And consider postponing exercise if air quality is poor, cold or dry.

You should be able to be active without symptoms. If exercise is one of your triggers, talk to your doctor. Your doctor may recommend the following strategies:

• Take medication 5 to 10 minutes before you begin exercise.

• Warm up for 10 minutes before exercise to help your body adjust to changes in breathing and temperature.

• Get some aerobic exercise every day. Aerobic exercise is anything that gets your heart pumping a little faster.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.