Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Asthma and Exercise: One Breath Closer

Asthma and Exercise: One Breath Closer

There are a lot of adults and children who would love to live a more physically active life, unfortunately, asthma can be quite debilitating at times. I've lived my whole life with asthma and as a kid growing up, the usual child's play such as bicycling, jump roping, roller skating etc. was very few and far in between for me. I lived a sedentary life for more than half of my life, until weight became an issue. Since exercise is such a huge part of weight loss, and balanced living, then the question remains, how can one become physically active, while keeping asthma under control?

Asthma, simply put, is a chronic lung disorder, tightness in the chest and shortness of breath. Most asthmatics think that exercising just isn't an option for them and that it does more harm than good, I too used to feel that way, but as a Certified Fitness Trainer living with asthma, I know longer agree. Now, Strength training, Jump roping, hiking, kick boxing and more, has been a part of my life for more than eight years. Exercising regularly has slowly built up my endurance and strengthened my heart and lungs. However, I'm never too far away from my inhaler. The severity of asthma does differ from person to person, so you should always consult with your doctor and have a thorough evaluation before starting any sort of exercise program.

Every Breath You Take

Correct breathing is crucial for someone suffering from asthma. There are many breathing techniques that will improve your heart and lungs. Below are two simple breathing exercises that you can do almost anywhere.

Deep Breathing. While standing or lying down, inhale as much oxygen as you can and then exhale gradually. You can do this anywhere, while you are working out, cooking or driving. It's just that simple!

Abdominal Breathing. Lay on your back in a comfortable position. Put one hand on your chest and another on your abdomen. Inhale deeply and slowly and feel the pull at your mid section. Ideally, while you do this, the hand on your belly will rise higher than the one on your chest. Now, exhale only through your mouth. Then breathe in from your nose and hold it for close to 7 seconds. Breathe out till you finish counting up to 8. As you come close to finishing this, squeeze your abdominal muscles to make sure there is no residual air. This is one of the easiest exercises for increasing lung capacity.

Exercise Tips

*Slowly build up your cardiovascular system and start with low intensity aerobic exercises.

- Take short brisk walks around your neighborhood, and every 4-6 weeks increase your pace and distance. Cold air could possibly trigger an asthma attack, so monitor the weather conditions and bring your inhaler. If outdoors is not for you, take advantage of a treadmill and apply the same rules as if you were walking outside.

- Go swimming this improves your cardiovascular system, helps you lose weight, and sculpts your upper and lower body muscles.

- Take a Yoga or Pilates class to strengthen, tighten your core, and tone your whole body. This will get rid of some of your stress, and over time you will adopt a new breathing pattern. You will begin using your abdominal muscles and the lower part of your diaphragm, while relaxing your chest muscles.

- Don't forsake strength training. You can increase muscle mass, have a more defined body, while working up a sweat, all without experiencing an over rapid heart rate. Children can also start a strength training program, according to the National Academy of Sports Medicine and National Strength and Conditioning Association. Children as young as 7 or 8 years old, are old enough to learn the proper way to do such exercises as; a sit-up and push-up, under the strict guidance of a Certified and trained professional.

Common foods that are known to trigger an asthma attack and can hinder exercise

Dairy- eggs, soy, ice cream
Fish- shellfish
Wine and Beer
Spicy foods
Some weather conditions that can labor your breathing and provoke an attack

Cold weather and dry temperatures
Damp weather
Hot and humid condition
Cold and windy weather
If you suffer from asthma and you're looking to become an advanced workout junkie or even a pro-athlete, consider this: Jackie Joyner- Kersee Track and Field star was diagnosed with asthma as a freshman at UCLA. Joyner-Kersee went on to become a four time Olympian and three time gold medalist. Jerome Bettis a.k.a. "The Bus" a retired running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers was diagnosed with asthma at age 15. Bettis went on to play 13 seasons in the NFL and won a super bowl in the process.

Importantly! Always stay under close doctor's supervision. Seek out the expertise and training assistance of someone who has worked with asthma sufferers. Asthmatics can enjoy a full and active life just like everyone else. The key is understanding the severity of your asthma. Start off slow, and work your way up to the success you want to be.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Joy_Liddell