Avoid respiratory problems when exercising in pollution

Avoid respiratory problems when exercising in pollution

As smog descended over our cities recently we were warned – stay inside if you suffer from breathing difficulties, and avoid the pollution as best you can.

With sand blowing in from the Sahara, this is not a daily occurrence for city dwellers, but what if you are hampered daily by respiratory illnesses such as asthma? Is there a best way to exercise?

Firstly, before any exercise you need to check with your GP that what you are doing is safe.

Exercise is recommended for everyone, regardless of breathing problems – but the levels and the way in which you do it have to be rethought. 

EXERCISE BREAKS 

It might be that a team sport suits you best as you don’t have to run around continuously, but rather you can have periods of inactivity where you regain your breath. Hockey, football, rugby and netball are all intensive sports but you are not expected to have the ball for the whole match!

THINK ATMOSPHERE

Like the warning over air quality, consider the atmosphere you are working out in. A gym is a constant atmosphere and you have trained first aiders on standby, therefore it’s a good choice for an asthmatic. Providing you have your medication and you are taking it correctly, there’s no reason you can’t go for a good workout.

Swimming is another good choice as the warm, moist air is kinder to our lungs. One thing you may want to steer of is running on a cold, frosty day as the air temperature can kick off an attack in some asthmatics.

KNOW YOUR LIMITS

The important thing is not to push yourself to tipping point. Work within your comfort zone and if you are pushing yourself ensure you have the support network in place to do so.

Exercise will make you stronger, so even if you have a respiratory problem, exercise can do you a real favour. To be sure of the air quality, head to the gym.

Comments

Olga N.
24 April 2014

Olga N.

Posts like this bring to mind scenes in China and Japan where almost all cyclists seem to wear face masks. It's a scary prospect!

Tanya M.
17 April 2014

Tanya M.

Posts like this make me happy I live in the country. Not that there isn't pollution but it is hugely reduced and much more enjoyable when I go for a run.

Clare R.
16 April 2014

Clare R.

definitely - we take the simple function of breathing so much for granted. We owe it to our lungs not to clutter them up.

Freya W.
14 April 2014

Freya W.

I've noticed how the cold really affects asthmatics- makes you feel lucky if you don't need to give exercise a second thought.

Trevor D.
14 April 2014

Trevor D.

interesting point about swimming - sounds a great smoggy day idea.

Tom J.
14 April 2014

Tom J.

Definitely a good reason to head to the gym insteadof run along roads.

Tom J.
14 April 2014

Tom J.

Will probably get worse again though with global warming etc. No wonder asthma is on the increase.

Phillip H.
13 April 2014

Phillip H.

this makes us realise how lucky we are to live where and when we do. City air used to be much worse in the UK, and still is very bad in some parts of the world.

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