9 Exercises you should avoid if you have asthma

People who suffer from asthma must try their best to adjust their lifestyle and avoid triggers and terrible asthmatic episodes. Adjusting the lifestyle doesn’t call for giving up on exercises as a whole because asthma can be controlled only by maintaining healthy habits and it includes regular exercises too. However, there are certain exercises that might be very harmful for people with severe asthmatic problems. Nine of those exercises are mentioned below and you can easily avoid them. If you don’t suffer from severe asthma, then you can try these exercises, but only after the advice of a doctor. The trick is never to overdo the exercises.


Yoga can be good for mind, body and soul but pranayama, a particular exercise in yoga is definitely not good when you are under an asthmatic attack. So, you can avoid it when you have asthma and continue only when your yoga instructor tells you that it is alright to practice. But when you are normal, this exercise will remove all the impurities and clears the bronchial tubes. Kapalabhati means clean breath in Sanskrit and it is the perfect way to detoxify your body, but do it only when you have no asthma. A person who does this exercise on a regular basis can actually control asthma. To do pranyama, you can sit on the floor or on a thin mattress and keeping your back erect. You can even sit cross-legged if you are comfortable that way. You can breathe normally till you are ready and relaxed. Next, take a deep breathe and exhale forcefully through both nostrils. A puffing sound erupts. All the air in the lungs will be expelled.

Ashtanga yoga

This exercise requires intense workouts and it may not be good for people suffering from asthma. Do not do this exercise without the aid of a yoga instructor. Ashtanga yoga is a series of exercises that starts with muscle stretching ‘aasanas’. It also includes sun salutation and chanting of hymns. But as you do the exercises in its different postures, you are likely to go breathless. It should never be done when you are under an attack.

Cold weather sports

Your air passages and the linings in them get cool and dry and it is one major reason why you should avoid exercising in the cold weather. You should also avoid going for sports activities that use ice and snow, especially ice skating, skiing and snowboarding. It has not yet been scientifically proven why the cooling of the air passages cause asthma, but doctors are of the unanimous opinion that the coldness does cause breathing problems. The constriction in the airways could be due to the presence of mucous. Using an inhaler just before you go out in the cold weather will help clear your lungs a bit. A steam vaporizer will also be ideal because it will clear out the mucous and thus, free the airways. You can also ask your doctor and he will prescribe some light warm up exercises before you go out into the cold.

Treadmill exercises

When you do treadmill exercises, you might get short of breath. Just don’t avoid the symptoms and keep pushing yourself because you will just collapse. If you want to do the treadmill, you can do it at short bursts, but stop when you get short of breath. If you are still persistent, you can seek the advice of your physician. He will either tell you to avoid the exercises till you get better or he will give you inhalers that you can use as premedication. Salbutamol and Albuterol inhalers are usually given to asthmatic patients just before they undertake any strenuous activities. Steroid inhalers will not do much good in these cases because they are taken as preventive. They don’t work as relievers because they don’t give immediate relief.


Generally swimming is good for asthmatic patients, but there is a but in that too. The chlorine fumes from the water are bad for the lungs. This irritation will cause your asthma to aggravate. If you have such a problem, then the best you can do is avoid chlorinated pools.

Distance running

Running is good for everyone, even for people with asthma. But if you are planning to do distance running as part of exercise, then you are in for a bad time. Or you can always consult your doctor review your case and he will do certain tests to check whether you are fit for running. If you are, he will give you the inhalers which you can take 15-30 minutes before running.

Cross country

Cross country running is not good for people with asthma. You will go breathless very quickly and your chest becomes lighter. Also the cold air beating on your face during running will not be good when you are under attack. If you still insist on cross country rides, then you will have to wait till the temperature warms up. Or you can wear breathing masks.


If you are persistent about aerobics, then do them at 6-8 minutes intervals. Don’t continue with it if you feel tired and breathless. You can decrease the interval period and do more of these exercises if you take it easy.


It is a form of outdoor aerobics, but if you have breathing problems and tightness in the chest, then do the cycling in a controlled way. If you live in an area where pollution is high and where there is pollen, then cycling outside your home is not advisable at all. It will instantly trigger an attack. Similarly, cycling in rocky terrain is also a big no. You will have to exert a lot; you will need more oxygen to breathe normally even, and it is not easy on a rocky terrain.

Even if you don’t have asthma when you do the exercises, avoid it when you have cold or flu. Both will aggravate your asthmatic symptoms and trigger an attack; it might even be fatal. An asthmatic patient must never perform the above mentioned exercises without the guidance or advice of his consulting physician.

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