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People with asthma may enjoy exercising and working out but could be unsure which type of fitness routine is safe for those with their medical condition. With 20 million Americans affected by asthma, it’s not uncommon for them to develop shortness of breath, wheezing, or chest tightness during a workout. Below is an outline of the type of sports and physical activities that people with asthma can safely partake in.

Fast Walking
One great way to stay healthy for those who have asthma is to take part in walking several times per week. In fact, one study discovered that adults with asthma who went on an hour-long walk three times per week for 12 weeks in a row were able to better control their asthma and improved their overall fitness. No adults in the study experienced an asthma attack while exercising.

This type of walk was described as moderate and brisk by study author Lisa M. Schwiebert, PhD, associate professor of cell, developmental, and integrative biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Walking is a very beneficial exercise routine for those with asthma.

Swimming is a superior sport for people with asthma since it strengthens the muscles used in breathing. When swimming, an athlete is around warm and moist air, which is less likely to lead to an asthma attack. Moist air reduces the risk of asthma symptoms.

One medical review from 2013 of eight different studies among children and adolescents found that swimming improves cardiopulmonary fitness and enhances lung function and does not have any major side effects among subjects with asthma.

Physical activity such as yoga can be a great way to stay fit for those with asthma due to yoga’s ability to control breathing. The breathing exercises associated with yoga can help improve lung function, which is beneficial for reducing asthma symptoms. In fact, there was one study completed that found subjects who took part in Hatha yoga for 2.5 hours per week successfully reduced the amount of asthma medication they were taking.

The most important thing to remember before starting any new exercise routine is consulting with a medical professional. Usually, people with asthma need to take a short-acting bronchodilator about 15 minutes before they begin any physical activity. Some of the safest options for exercise among asthma patients include swimming, yoga, and walking.