People with asthma can do more than play sports: They can be really good at them. Lots of elite athletes have asthma, and some have won Olympic gold medals.
Even if you don't want to be a professional athlete, you benefit from being active and playing sports. Sports keep you fit. They help you to stay at a healthy weight. Exercise also strengthens the breathing muscles in your chest. If you have asthma, this is very important because it can help your lungs work better.
Sports have great emotional benefits, too: Exercising causes the body to produce endorphins, body chemicals that can help people feel more peaceful and happy. Exercise helps some people sleep better. It can even help with problems like mild depression: People who feel strong and powerful can see themselves in a better light.
Some sports may be better choices for people with asthma. Golf, yoga, and gentle biking are less likely to trigger asthma flare-ups. Sports like baseball, football, gymnastics, and shorter track and field events tend to be good for people with asthma, too.
Some sports may be more challenging for people with asthma. These include endurance sports like long-distance running or cycling or sports that demand a lot of energy without a lot of rest time (like soccer and basketball). Cold-weather sports like cross-country skiing or ice hockey also can be difficult. But that doesn't mean you can't do these sports if you truly enjoy them.
Many athletes with asthma have found that with proper training and the right dose and use of medicine, they can play any sport they want.
Before playing sports, your asthma must be under control. In other words, you shouldn't be having lots of flare-ups. The best way to get asthma under control is by following your action plan and taking all asthma medicines that your doctor prescribes.
If you take long-term control medicine, you'll need to use it even when you feel OK. Skipping these daily medicines can make symptoms worse. Forgetting to take your medicines before exercise can lead to severe flare-ups. You may even need to go to the ER.
Have your quick-relief medicine with you at all times, even during workouts. That way you can take it if you have a flare-up.
Talk with your doctor about your plans to play sports or work out. Your doctor might add some workout strategies to your asthma action plan. These may be things like:
Make sure your coach and teammates know about your asthma. That way they'll understand when you need to stop working out or have a flare-up. After a while, you'll become good at listening to your body so you'll know how to avoid or handle asthma problems at a game or practice.
Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: January 2014
|American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology offers up-to-date information and a find-an-allergist search tool.|
|American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology The ACAAI is an organization of allergists-immunologists and health professionals dedicated to quality patient care. Contact them at: American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology|
85 W. Algonquin Road
Suite 550 Arlington Heights, IL 60005
|American Lung Association The mission of this group is to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. Contact the group at: American Lung Association|
61 Broadway, 6th Floor
NY, NY 10006
|Can the Weather Affect a Person's Asthma? Scientific studies show that weather can affect asthma symptoms. If you think weather may be triggering your asthma, here are some tips for dealing with it.|
|School and Asthma Lots of teens have asthma. Here are tips on keeping it under control so you don't have a flare-up in school.|
|Asthma Center Visit our Asthma Center for information and advice on managing and living with asthma.|
|What's an Asthma Flare-Up? An asthma flare-up (or attack) can cause coughing, chest tightness, wheezing, and trouble breathing. Sometimes, symptoms can be severe. Find out what causes flare-ups and what you can do in this article.|
|Exercise-Induced Asthma Some people have asthma symptoms only when they exercise. This is called exercise-induced asthma. Get some tips for coping with it in this article.|
|Ozone, Air Quality, and Asthma Ozone and other things that pollute the air can be problems for people with asthma and can cause asthma flare-ups. Find out how to deal with ozone.|
|How to Avoid the ER if You Have Asthma Going to the ER is the last resort for someone who has asthma. The good news is that you can prevent this by getting your asthma under control. Get some tips on how.|
|Dealing With an Asthma Flare-Up Asthma flare-ups, or attacks, can be handled, but it's even better if you can prevent them from happening. Find out how to deal with flare-ups.|
|Asthma Millions of teens in the United States have asthma, a lung condition that causes difficulty breathing. Here are the basics on symptoms, triggers, and treatments.|
What to expect when coming to Akron Children's
For healthcare providers and nurses
Residency & Fellowships, Medical Students, Nursing and Allied Health
For prospective employees and career-seekers
Our online community that provides inspirational stories and helpful information.