In Germany, around 3.5 million people are living with drug-treated asthma. But what is the best way to deal with it in everyday life? For example, should you avoid sports and physical exertion if you have asthma? On the contrary – experts and studies say.
Asthma is a widespread disorder in Germany. According to the health atlas, 3.5 million people are addicted to drugs.1 Most cases involve boys under the age of 14 and women over the age of 70. But getting diagnosed with asthma doesn’t mean you have to take it easy and give up physical activity. Experts and studies advise instead to play sports even if you suffer from asthma, as this can relieve the symptoms of the disease. However, you should pay attention to a few things.
Causes and symptoms of asthma
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that can affect people of all ages. The causes are not yet fully understood, but there are a number of risk factors. For example, allergic diseases such as hay fever or neurodermatitis (both in those affected and in the family) and when people are born with a lower than average weight. Also, boys are affected more often than girls. Also, if parents smoke, it can promote asthma in children.2
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The most common symptoms of asthma include:
- cough and cough irritation
- shortness of breath
- shortness of breath during exertion
- Noises when breathing (whistling, buzzing)
- tightness in the chest
- tiredness and exhaustion
Exercise can help with asthma
But there is also good news for asthmatics. Those who play sports regularly can, for example, increase the trigger threshold of asthma during exertion. This means you can put more strain on your body without running out of breath. Because lung capacity increases and you can absorb more oxygen. Sport also improves the transport of mucus in the lungs, which among other things reduces the urge to cough.3
The following endurance sports are especially recommended for asthmatics:
Endurance sports increase the volume of the lungs and improve the depth of breathing. It is important that you start exercising slowly to give your body and especially your lungs enough time to get used to the effort. In general, it is better for people with asthma to train at low intensity several times a week rather than high intensity once a week. A good indicator of low intensity is whether you can still talk to someone while jogging or biking, for example.
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The study shows the positive impact of exercise on asthma
British scientists have studied the impact of physical activity on asthma sufferers. To do this, they evaluated 25 international studies that contained data from over 1,800 subjects.4 Because asthmatics in particular tend to do little sport. “We found that physical activity promotion interventions had significant benefits in terms of increased physical activity, reduced sedentary time, improved quality of life and reduced asthma symptoms,” says one of the authors. of the study, of the University of East Anglia.5
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Weight training is also suitable for asthmatics
Another study showed that not only endurance sports have a positive influence on the symptoms of asthma sufferers.6 Because scientists have looked at the benefits of various sports, including strength training. It was found that people with asthma reacted to weight training in the same way as non-asthmatics without having any complications. Provided they trained with light weights and high repetitions 2-3 times a week.
Consult a doctor before exercising
It is important for asthmatics to speak to their doctor before playing sports. This is because he has to decide if you need to take medications before exercise. You should also always have the emergency spray on hand while exercising, in case of unexpected problems. In principle, asthmatics should observe the following points during exercise:
- Warm up for 5-10 minutes before exercising
- Slow down or reduce exertion if you run out of breath
- don’t push yourself to the limit
- Alternating phases of stress with phases of recovery
- cool down slowly after exercise / do not stop abruptly