Asthma is a chronic condition in which a person's airways become inflamed and narrow, making it difficult for the person to breathe. Asthma can be mild or severe or life-threatening. The most common symptoms of asthma include difficulty in breathing, chest pain, coughing, and wheezing. Mild asthma can usually be managed with inhalers and daily physical activities and exercises. Moderate and severe asthma can be treated with medications.
Can Asthma Be Cured With Exercises?
As much as that remains a topic of debate, studies have shown that asthmatic patients can be helped by training their lungs with persistent exercises. This usually helps with strengthening the pulmonary muscles (the muscles of respiration, that contribute to inhalation and exhalation) as well as the respiratory pathway.
5 Everyday Exercises to Prevent Asthma
1. Practice breathing exercises (pranayama) to help your lungs thrive. Pranayamas are known to be immensely helpful for strengthening the lungs and cleansing them with regular breathing exercises. The most commonly recommended breathing practices for people with asthma are:
Alternate Nostril Breathing (Anulom Vilom): It facilitates proper functioning of the lungs, lifts up the mood, and keeps the stress away. This exercise can be practiced for 10 minutes daily initially and then increased as per your requirements.
Cobra Breathing (Ujjayi Breath): This breathing technique helps in opening up the lungs, making it easier to breathe.
Right Nostril Breathing or Revitalizing Breath (Surya Bhedan): This helps with the strengthening of the esophagus (muscular tube connecting the throat (pharynx) with the stomach)) and the pharynx as well. It is known to improve lung function and respiratory endurance.
When practiced regularly, these breathing exercises help in removing any blockages from the respiratory tract till the bronchioles and helps with uninterrupted breathing.
2. Practice swimming to train your lungs. Swimming for a considerable amount of hours helps in reclaiming your respiratory capacity. It is also important to take it slow with respect to the duration.
Staying in water under a certain pressure also ensures that your lungs are able to get used to the pressure exerted in adverse conditions. This enables you to be more resilient to the asthmatic attacks.
However, note that chlorinated pools can cause symptoms in some individuals. It is important to be cautious while swimming.
3. Hiking is a great option for people with asthma. The hiking path or trail should be chosen as per the comfort level of the patient. Ideally, it should be a gentle, low-rise one and should be clear of any allergens, pollutants, and irritants that may affect the patient. The hike level can be further moderated as per your comfort and medical supervision.
4. Short-distance, recreational biking is safe. This is another gentle activity that doesn’t involve constant exertion. However, biking should be practiced with care. Rapid biking mountain biking should be avoided as well as it may dry out your airways due to rapid breathing. It is advisable to go biking on a flat surface at a pace that is comfortable for you.
5. Walking can help. Studies show that adults with asthma, who go for a walk at least 3 times a week, show a reduction in asthma symptoms and increased fitness levels. As it is a low-intensity activity, it is gentle on the lungs and your body, which makes breathing easier.
People with asthma who exercise regularly will often notice an improvement in their symptoms. It is always advisable to check with the doctor/ pulmonologist before starting a new exercise or workout routine.
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