How To Hack Sports-Induced Asthma?

For as long as I remember, I've sucked at endurance. When I was in high school, I was finally diagnosed with sports-induced asthma. I found this out after I tried out for the softball team... I could run pretty fast, but my throat burned, my chest hurt, and it took me a really long time to get my wind back after even the shortest of sprints. I didn't give up though, and played softball for 4 years. The doc gave me a prescription inhaler (which didn't work) and a rescue inhaler which I stopped using because it didn't help much and made my heart feel like it was going to beat out of my chest. Over the years, this has kept me from doing a lot of cardio, not to mention avoiding the stairs at all costs. You will never find me on a treadmill unless I'm just walking on the incline and you will certainly never see me on the elliptical (I think my record is just under 10 minutes...) I do occasionally use the cycling machines and bike outside, but I can barely make it upstairs to my bedroom without feeling like my lungs are going to give out! Oh, and I'm only 28.


 


My husband is always worrying about this and is concerned that if I'm ever in a situation where I need to run away from something or for a long period of time, this issue is going to make it very difficult for me. I very much agree. I've taken some advice about taking it slow and building up to it on a treadmill or running outside, but the discomfort of the process and not seeing results has caused me to quit after a few weeks. I know, lame excuse... So my question: Is there any way to hack sports-induced asthma other than just forcing myself into cardio hell? Running bores the crap out of me and even doing it outside doesn't make it any better. I'm more of a bike person (maybe because it's easier on my knees and I don't get as winded) but even doing that doesn't seem to yield much of a result. How do you build lung capacity without just running around and making yourself miserable?


 


I'd love to hear some advice on this, and some success stories!


 


-Danielle


Comments

  • Life is about how you utilize O2 so it's awesome your here asking! Get a diaphragm massage. People tend to forget about the diaphragm but that is the breathing muscle so if it is tight you will not be able to take a full breath. Check out the Wim Hof method. Get some cold exposure and work on breathing techniques before doing any physical activity. Breath holds are great. Try to get the understanding that you can do a whole lot more on one breath then you think. I've been swimming a mile in upstate NY now everyday for a few weeks. The other day it was 36 degrees out it felt like my breath was taken away once I got in the water but I focused on my goal not the discomfort of getting there 😉
  • I'll definitely have to check that out! You're right, we don't often think about the diaphragm being a muscle, so that makes a ton of sense. Thanks!


  • fixerforhirefixerforhire Mr. Not Sure.

    I had exercise and cold induced asthma through high school. I still have asthma but it's much more manageable now, to the point I can exercise without using an inhaler or stop wheezing and tightness in my chest.


    in my journey to help control the condition I found two things were consistent with onset and severity.


    Diet and Respiration rate.


    For me, diet was a huge factor which also seemed to affect my heart rate, respiration and inflammation


    the respiration rate exacerbated the asthma because I was causing further constriction of the airways by breathing too much.    


    it's like hyperventilating and having constricted airways. double whammy.


    removing too much carbon dioxide from the lungs by excessive deep respiration can impair the gas transfer process and create a hypoxic condition.


     


    I don't think the respiration rate is the beginning and end of the problem, it's just a symptom that complicates things further, reducing it's impact has made managing the condition much easier.


     


     


    this is what I found in my case. asthma may be like a headache, same symptom but many different causes. 


     


    i'd say start slow and focus on your breathing, if you find yourself hyperventilating slow down and breath more slowly/don't exhale so deeply.


    how deeply I exhale seems to be the biggest factor.


    breathing through the nose can help modulate the amount and depth of breath. 


  • I've definitely found more mindful and controlled breathing to help out. Out of curiosity, what in your diet affected those things for you?


  • fixerforhirefixerforhire Mr. Not Sure.

    I don't know what specifically helped in terms of diet, other than everything.


    my diet was extremely poor. I subsisted off of fast food, junk food and soda. 


    typical day for me was starbucks mocha, pastry, double burger fries, soda, some more crap for dinner, pint of ice cream, bag of candy cumulative daily intake of a 12 pack of coke or more.


     


    If you're following things mostly in the green zone off the bp diet that's a pretty good start.


    there is still the possibility that something in the green zone may not be so bulletproof for you; or the product/food is misrepresented.


     


    another possible avenue is daily exposure to allergens, chemicals etc.


    I seem to have a certain amount of buffer zone depending on how clean i've been eating/living.


    my first indicator i've gone out of bounds is tightness in my lungs and/or allergies.


     


    a few weeks out of country with crappy air quality and micro-biologically questionable food isn't too much of an imposition for me if my health has been some what on point.

  • I have noticed things are way worse here for me allergen-wise. I came from a small town in Ohio with a nearly A+ air quality rating, to the Bay Area, which is well...awful! I'm definitely allergic to something in the air. Last spring my eyes watered non stop, my whole body itched, and my keratosis pilaris has gotten worse than I've ever seen it. Unfortunately we're stuck here another year and a half :-/ 


  • fixerforhirefixerforhire Mr. Not Sure.

    I've lived in vallejo and napa. 10+ years ago.


    in addition to the plant allergens there are two or three giant refineries.


    I don't know if they ever cleaned up their act. One refinery tesoro? was in continuous violation of the epa. They opted to pay the fines every time they were tested rather than fix the problem.


    That could have just been gossip or something I'm mis-remembering.



  • I've lived in vallejo and napa. 10+ years ago.


    in addition to the plant allergens there are two or three giant refineries.


    I don't know if they ever cleaned up their act. One refinery tesoro? was in continuous violation of the epa. They opted to pay the fines every time they were tested rather than fix the problem.


    That could have just been gossip or something I'm mis-remembering.




     


    Whoah that's messed up! Wouldn't surprise me if that was true...

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