5 reasons to exercise if you have asthma

Working up a sweat can help you achieve control in more ways than one

If symptoms leave you wheezy and tight chested, physical activity might be the last thing you feel like doing. But, here’s the thing, regular exercise can be beneficial for anyone with asthma1,2 – as long as you take it at your own pace and in consultation with your treating physician. Here are five reasons to get on your trainers today…

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Healthy lungs


When you’re physically active, your heart and lungs have to work harder to supply extra oxygen to your muscles.3 This strengthens the entire respiratory and cardiovascular system, increasing the efficiency of your heart and lungs.3 The fitter you become, the less likely you are to feel breathless during exercise.3

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Improved symptom control


You won’t just notice the benefits of cardio in the gym. In one study, people with asthma who exercised regularly scored significantly higher on asthma control tests than those who didn’t work out – they also experienced less shortness of breath.1

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Good immunity


Research shows that regular moderate activity increases your body’s ability to detect and fight off viral infections.4 Given asthma symptoms may appear or worsen with viral infections like colds and flu, this can only be a good thing.5

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Regular workouts also help you maintain a healthy weight, which is good news for asthma.5 That’s because there’s evidence that obesity is associated with inflammation and increased asthma severity.6 All the more reason to work up a sweat.

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A natural high


One of the best reasons of all to exercise? It reduces levels of stress hormones7 and stimulates the production of endorphins, brain chemicals that lift your mood.7 What’s not to like?

How often should I exercise?

If you have asthma, it’s a good idea to seek medical advice before you take up any new sports. Your doctor will be able to discuss your physical activity and management options to address underlying inflammation and control your asthma symptoms.8,9

Whether you take regular strolls or prefer trips to your local pool, listen to your body, and start slow. Make sure you always carry your reliever inhaler, too, just in case.5 Then, all that’s left to do is get on and enjoy your workout!

Is your asthma well controlled?

If you’re concerned about your asthma, speak to your doctor about daily treatment. The asthma control test (ACT) is a quick way to see how asthma symptoms are affecting your everyday life. Click on the link below to get the results in seconds – and be sure to share them with your doctor.

  • referenceS

    1. Jaakkola JJK, et al. Sci Rep 2019;9:12088.
    2. Dogra S, et al. European Respiratory Journal 2011;37:318–323.
    3. American Lung Association. Exercise and lung health. Available at: https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/wellness/exercise-and-lung-health. Accessed November 2021.
    4. Nieman DC. J Sport Health Sci 2020;9(4):293–301.
    5. GINA. Global strategy for asthma management and prevention, 2021. Available at: www.ginasthma.org. Accessed November 2021.
    6. Kim SH, et al. Allergy Asthma Immunol Res 2014;6(3):189–195.
    7. Harvard Health Publishing. Exercising to relax. Available at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/exercising-to-relax. Accessed November 2021.
    8. Woodcock A, et al. Lancet 2017;390:2247–2255.
    9. Murdoch JR, Lloyd CM. Mutat Res 2010;690(1-2):24–39.