Everyone should be physically active, including people with asthma. Here are some tips for safely staying active when it’s cold out.
You should only exercise if your asthma is controlled. Take your asthma medication every day and make sure you don’t stop once you feel better. The reason you can breathe so well is that your medication is controlling the inflammation in your lungs. By taking your medication every day, you’ll be able to be physically active, even in the winter, with little or no discomfort.
Adapt the intensity of your exercise to your physical ability. People with asthma can take part in intense activities just like healthy individuals, but you don’t become an athlete overnight!
Take time to warm-up and cool-down before and after your physical activity. This gives your lungs, heart and muscles time to gently get activated and return to a resting state.
The muscles that surround your bronchi can contract when exposed to cold air. This is called bronchoconstriction, and it can make it difficult for you to breathe. If it’s very cold out, it’s probably better to exercise indoors. Otherwise, wear a scarf or a mask in front of your mouth and nose, and breathe through your nose as much as possible. This will help condition the air that you inhale.
Especially in urban areas, avoid exercising outdoors when the air quality is poor. Check the air quality indicators in your local weather forecast.
Always have your rescue medication on hand, but avoid taking it just out of habit. If your asthma is under control, you should be able to do sports and physical activities without having to systematically take your rescue medication as a preventive measure.
If you have any questions on your asthma treatment, don’t hesitate to consult your pharmacist!