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Staying Fit with Asthma: Six Exercises You Need to Know

Nov 11, 2015

Sometimes it can be difficult to exercise when you have asthma, but there are exercises that even people with exercise-induced asthma can perform successfully to stay fit. In fact, exercising can help reduce asthma symptoms, strengthen lung muscles, improve breathing, and reduce stress and anxiety. It’s all about choosing the right exercises for you.

People with asthma have lungs that are more sensitive to things like cold air, dry air, pollen, and pollution. When we breathe through our nose, the nose filters the air we breathe before it reaches the lungs. However, during exercise, it’s common to breathe through the mouth which can be tough on the lungs. If you’re experiencing issues with asthma during exercise, try to remember to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.


Swimming is a great exercise for people who suffer from asthma because it builds up the muscles used for breathing. Swimming will also expose your lungs to warm, moist air rather than cold or dry air that can irritate the lungs.



Yoga is a great practice because the primary focus is on breathing. Certain poses can even help open up your airways and allow you to breathe better. It’s easier to breathe during standing poses, like the mountain pose, because your back will be in a neutral position which allows gravity to pull your stomach’s organs downward and gives your diaphragm more room to move.

During some poses where you lay down on your back and extend your arms over your head, such as the goddess pose, the chest will open up and ease symptoms like coughing.

     3.Weight Training

Performing simple workouts with lightweight dumbbells between five and eight pounds can help you build strength, improve muscle tone, and lose weight. Weight training is an excellent form of exercise and a great alternative to cardio that will give you the results you desire without effecting your breathing too much.

     4.Outdoor and Indoor Biking

Biking is a good exercise for those with asthma because while you’re pedaling, you’re also allowing the bike to carry you and do part of the work. For a less physically demanding workout, stick to flat paths and avoid hills and tough terrain. Indoor bicycling is also a great way to exercise and burn calories without being so rigorous that it will trigger an asthma attack.



Walking may seem like just a simple exercise, but there are tremendous health benefits that go along with it. You’ll burn calories, strengthen muscles, and reduce stress and anxiety. Try walking three times a week for at least a half hour at a moderate to brisk pace.


If you enjoy golfing, consider setting up a tee time for this weekend. Because the activity is staggered and you alternate swinging the clubs with walking, golf is a sport that usually won’t trigger an asthma attack. However, it is very important to take the pollen count into consideration before you venture outside.

Don’t let your asthma keep you from exercising. Experiment with each one of these asthma-friendly exercises and see which one works best for you.

For information about how rehabilitation and non-operative methods can help relieve your pain, click here to download our eBook, The Patient’s Guide to Non-Operative Care and Rehabilitation.