Exercise asthma- picture of flag football players doing a warm up

Exercise Asthma: Tips to Send Off the Cough

Looking for ways to send off the cough and fight the tight chest of exercise asthma?

The cough and chest tightness from narrowed and swollen lung airways in exercise asthma can make sports and free play more difficult. But don’t let these symptoms keep you off the court or away from the fun. Whether you are preparing for a top competition, checking into PE class, or going out to ride a bike, following a few easy tips can take some of the fear out of exercising with asthma.

EXERCISE ASTHMA: Can food choices help keep it in check?

Exercise asthma- picture of flag football players doing a warm up

EXERCISE ASTHMA: A unique warm-up can “fool”  your body and make exercise easier

Exercise Asthma: Picture of girls playing lacrosse

  • Start your warm-up 15 minutes before the regular practice or game
    • Take 2 puffs of short-acting albuterol inhaler, 30 seconds apart
    • Run 6-8 repetitions of 80 yard sprints at 75% speed
      • This will “fool” the body into starting an asthma attack
      • Once this brief sprint activity is over, any asthma symptoms “retreat” and cannot recur for 2-3 hours

EXERCISE ASTHMA: Keep things working smoothly during exercise

  • Have free and ready access to short-acting albuterol inhaler in case symptoms occur
    • Inhaler should be carried by athlete or on the playing surface, not stored in locker or office
    • Make sure athletic trainer, coach, teammates, and others know location of inhaler
  • Use of inhaler more than once a month during activity suggests inadequate symptom control. If this is happening, make a visit with your medical professional to discuss asthma plan

EXERCISE ASTHMA: Use proper metered dose inhaler technique to be a star on the field

Exercise asthma: picture of three inhalers

  • Hold the mouthpiece 1-2 inches from your lips with your mouth open
  • Breathe in and squeeze down on the medicine canister
  • Breathe in slowly for 3-5 seconds
  • Hold breath for up to 10 seconds
  • Wait at least 30 seconds before taking the second puff
  • Don’t be afraid to brush your teeth after using a steroid inhaler to reduce infection in your mouth


Exercise asthma- picture of spacer to use with an inhaler

  • Using a spacer (tube) between the inhaler and your mouth can help better deliver medication

EXERCISE ASTHMA: What else could cause breathing troubles with exercise?

Told you have asthma but still struggling to breath with exercise? Have throat tightness if running or singing?

Click here to learn about Vocal Cord Dysfunction which sounds like asthma, but is totally different!

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