Have Asthma? 7 Tips for Winter Exercise

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Exercise doesn’t have to stop during the cold season.  Winter can actually help your body burn more fat due to the lower temperatures. However, for people who have asthma, extra care is required when working out in the cold.

Asthma sufferers deal with respiratory problems that can compromise their ability to breathe freely. Many conditions can trigger asthma attacks, and cold weather is one of them. When the  temperature drops, blood vessels tend to constrict in an effort to maintain warmth.

In those with asthma, this can bring about a host of symptoms. When exposed to cold, dry air they may experience wheezing, shortness of breath, tightness in the chest and coughing spells. This can happen before exercise (if not properly warmed up) or after a particularly long and exhausting workout.

If you are alone, this situation can become very dangerous very fast. Without proper medical attention,  an asthma attack can get out of control. In light of this, here are some safety tips for those asthmatics who exercise in the winter.

7 Safety Tips for Winter Exercise

1. Work out with a friend. If an asthma attack does occur, you will need attention. A partner can assist for faster treatment.

2. Use your inhaler. Before you go out in the cold air, use your inhaler to open up respiratory passages for freer breathing.

3. Stay hydrated. One trigger for an attack could be lack of moisture in your body. Drink plenty of water and electrolyte drinks before you go out in the air and while you are exercising. It keeps your airways moisturized. Dryness can lead to coughing.

4. Wear a scarf or a mask. Introducing cold air into your lungs can be a shock. Wearing a scarf over your mouth can keep your breath from chilling up as you inhale the outside air. The mask will warm the air coming into your lungs and keep an asthma attack at bay.

5. Exercise indoors. The air indoors is warmer and you can exercise without increasing the threat of asthma attacks. Even so, keep your asthma under control for strenuous sessions like basketball games, high impact aerobics and kickboxing.

6. Use an indoor pool. Swimming is a good overall exercise. It is easy on the joints and works just about every muscle group in the body. Laps in the pool can increase circulation and lung capacity. For asthmatics it works best if the pool is heated.

7. Layer your clothing. f you do go outside, stay as warm as you can. Cover all extremities to prevent the body from losing heat at those points.

Even with well-controlled asthma, exercising in winter can be dangerous. Take all precautions to get the most out of your workouts and your lungs.

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