Asthma 101

Morning all,

In today’s #TrainingTips post I would like to cover a problem that is becoming more and more common, ASTHMA.  I’ve written several papers on respiratory conditions and I thought it rude of me if I didn’t share some of my findings.

Respiratory conditions are becoming more prevalent with one in twelve adults and one in ten children being diagnosed with asthma.  Asthma is a chronic condition whereby the airways of the lungs narrow and become inflamed due to a trigger, a result of this narrowing causes difficultly breathing.  Triggers for asthma can be such things as smoke, pollen, animal fur, dust mites, stress or anxiety and exercise, however the symptoms of asthma can be reversed by the administration of medication or the removal of the trigger.  Common signs of asthma are dyspnoea (breathlessness), coughing, wheezing and a tight chest.

Asthma can not be cured but it can be controlled through the invention of medication and lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise.  There are many types of medication to treat asthma but the most common type of medication you will see will be the use of inhalers.  Inhalers are found typically in 2 colours blue and brown (however there are other colours and these can vary occurring the the needs of the user) and both have differing uses, the blue inhaler is a reliever which quickly reduces obstruction of the airways and relives dyspnoea for 4-6 hours, whereas the brown inhaler is a preventer which is typically taken in the mornings and the evenings to prevent symptoms occurring.

Regular activity is used as an intervention in the form of controlled exercise that can improve cardiorespiratory fitness, reduce exercise induced asthma and improve the physical capacity and tolerance of individuals with asthma.  Furthermore, exercise is used as a form of weight control which in turn reduces symptoms and the acuity of the dyspnoea.  The improvement of respiratory symptoms comes from an increased mechanical efficiency of the pulmonary muscles, which are able to produce more force.  This increases the oxidative capacity and VO2Max of the individual as well as having immune boosting properties, which lead to a better quality of life with reduced and controlled symptoms.

Exercise induced asthma (EIA) differs between individuals and typically will peak 10 to 15 minutes after ceasing exercise which may last up to 30 minutes.  Therefore it is of prime importance to understand and have control of your asthma before rushing straight off after stopping exercise.

There is conflicting evidence to what is the best exercise prescription for individuals with controlled respiratory conditions, but these are my suggests based on evidence, science and experience.

  • A moderate intensity programme consisting of aerobic and muscular fitness exercise.
  • Muscular exercise is advised to be of lower resistance and higher rep ranges, which also should not be carried out on consecutive days.
  • Aerobic exercise is advised to be large muscle activities and progression should be made in duration of exercise, starting at up to 30 minutes rather than increases of intensity.
  • A warm up of moderate intensity for 10 to 15 minutes can lead to an individual being able to exercise at a higher intensity, with no occurrence of EIA for up to 2 hours.
  • High intensity exercise slows development of hyperinflation, which means an individual can work longer and produce a larger volume of work done, which also raises the lactate and ventilatory threshold.
  • Using functional training to mimic activities of daily life, as well as the benefit of working the upper body muscles that act as an accessory to breathing.
  • To reduce the risk further, administrating 2 to 4 puffs of the preventer inhaler 10 to 15 minutes before commencement of exercise.
Asthma 101

Image Source: © Tosha11 | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

Obvious precautions must be taken when exercising, careful observation and monitoring of symptoms such as breathlessness during exercise is essential and will inform you of exercise tolerance.  Modifications can be made to exercise to reduce symptoms where necessary.  Moreover, before commencing any exercise the individual must have regular control of their condition, if they do not have this control, advise consulting their GP before commencement of any exercise.

So don’t let asthma hold you back get moving.


Have a great weekend guys.


Stay strong and live, love and laugh!





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