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Historically, an exercise prescription for an asthma sufferer would have been unheard of, but the value of following a carefully structured and monitored exercise training program is now widely recognized.

There are many examples of asthmatics that have reached the very pinnacle of their sports, including marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe.

Feel the benefit of exercise

In addition to the health, fitness and psychological benefits that regular exercise brings for the asthma sufferer, exercise can help your condition in many ways including:

Altogether a great package of benefits for the asthma sufferer!

Safety first for exercising with asthma

Before you begin an exercise program there are a couple of basic precautions that you should take. Once they’re completed, you’re ready to improve your fitness.

Go for a personal exercise best

Before each exercise session, you need to compare your peak flow reading with your personal best (pb) peak flow reading, so it is important to establish your pb. Over a two-week period, check your peak flow between two and four times per day, noting the readings. Prior to your training session, re-check your peak flow and compare it with your pb using the color coded table below to see whether it is safe for you to exercise.

Note: Following content to be compiled into table, see original article.





% of peak flow pb

80% or higher


Below 60%

Assessment of condition

Asthma is stable

An exacerbation may occur

Danger zone

Exercise prescription


Take medication and return to training when peak flow improves.

No training, seek medical attention

Locations for exercise

The swimming pool is an ideal environment for your training because it is moist and humid which will prevent your airways from drying out. However, you can still workout in other environments including the gym, studio and outdoors. Ideally, the gym and studio should be extremely clean with no dust to avoid further irritation of your airways. When exercising outside, avoid cold, frosty conditions because the cold air contains less moisture. Warm days are fine.

Training time

The exercise prescription for an asthma sufferer follows the basic training protocols that are applicable to everyone, including: warm-up, main session and cool-down, but with a focus on shorter bursts of exercise rather than extended continuous training.

For example:

Asthma exercise tips

Finally, to enhance your enjoyment of your sessions and to help you get the most from your training, follow the training tips below:

So, asthma is not a total barrier to exercise and in fact exercise can actually help your condition. By following the guidelines above, not only can your asthma symptoms reduce, you will also enjoy a whole host of exercise benefits including easier weight management, better all-round health and more energy. Breathing deeply can set you on the road to easier breathing 24 hours a day.


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