How to Work Out with Asthma and Crush Your Fitness Goals

Posted on February 22nd, 2018 at 3:20 am by


Asthma, it comes in numerous forms and degrees of severity, and no matter the acuteness of your condition, it makes leading an active lifestyle difficult. When it comes to lifting weights for muscle and strength gain, the symptoms might become even more emphasized due to the increased energy expenditure and elevated blood pressure.

While cardiovascular endurance training is still the prevalent trigger of asthma attacks, many strength and bodybuilding athletes struggle maintaining their weekly workout schedule as well. However, there is a prudent solution to your problem. Here is how you can safely work out with asthma and crush your fitness goals.

Recognize your triggers

The first step towards beating asthma for good during training is to recognize your specific triggers. These can be an allergic reaction, sudden physical exertion, stress, fatigue, and poor nutrition among others. While an asthma attack is bound to appear during vigorous training, it’s important to assess your lifestyle habits as well, as it can help you optimize your daily routine to subdue the effects.

Typically, asthmatics should stay away from inflammatory foods such as dairy, saturated fats, artificial sweeteners, fried foods, sugar, and unhealthy additives in general. Sticking to a healthy diet will help keep your airways clear prior, during, and after your workout, while at the same time allowing you to focus and prime your body for the challenges ahead.

Proper warm-up is essential

Unfortunately, there aren’t many asthmatics in the world that can just spring into action at a moment’s notice, but that doesn’t mean that you cannot train your body over time to better manage the stress of sudden physical exertion. Remember, asthma is not a sentence, it’s a nuisance that’s meant to be crushed with effort and dedication.

To safely achieve this, you must give priority to proper warm-ups before every training session, taking the time to slowly elevate your heart rate while breathing properly in order to subdue or prevent the symptoms. Over time, you will find it easier to put more pressure on your airways without succumbing to the effects. Make sure your warm-up includes cardio, weights, and explosive movements.

Ensure good airflow and practice breathing

Before we get to the actual workout, it’s important that we address the problems of airflow and proper breathing.  Working out safely and successfully in a stuffy gym environment is simply not feasible for an asthmatic, so not only do you need to find a gym that’s adequately ventilated, but you also need to make sure your living environment is free of air pollutants as well.

Building healthy lungs begins at home, which is why you want to check out honest air purifier ratings to find the best purifier for your home. Now that your living environment is free of impurities, you can start practicing proper breathing that will help you in the gym.

Pace yourself

When the time comes to go into your working sets, things start to heat up. You might feel tempted to push yourself to the max, crushing the first set of squats with as many reps as possible, but that will only negatively impact the rest of your workout and set you up for disappointment.

Instead, you want to pace yourself.  Remember, slow and steady wins the race, and in your case, it means controlling the weight through a prescribed number of reps, and increasing the intensity or volume as you progress through the workout. Allow your body to adjust to the stress you’re putting it through, breathe into your belly, and you will have no problem getting a killer workout in.

Cool down slowly

Finally, one of the biggest mistakes asthmatics make that ends up ruining the rest of their day is failing to cool down properly after a vigorous lifting session. You want to slow down and control your breathing, keep moving around the gym, and allow the pressure on your lungs and esophagus to slowly subside.

Devote at least 10 minutes to mobility and breathing techniques, perhaps even incorporating yoga movements after your workout. This will allow you to regain control over your body, and return your breathing to normal.

Living with asthma is not easy, especially if you have numerous triggers that tend to completely ruin your workouts. Fortunately, by following these tips and taking your medication regularly, you will have no problem crushing your fitness goals and eliminating asthma from your life.

Image courtesy of patrisyu at

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