Strength Training with Asthma
Women Fitness|May - June 2021
Strength training combined with weight-bearing aerobic exercises helps counteract the effect of asthma medications.

Exercising with asthma can be a big challenge for asthma sufferers. Two things happen inside the lungs of women suffering with Asthma constriction, the tightening of the muscles surrounding the airways, and inflammation, the swelling and irritation of the airways. Constriction and inflammation cause narrowing of the airways, by a combination of muscle spasm, mucosal swelling and bronchial secretion with symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, or shortness of breath.

Furthermore, there is increasing evidence that, if left untreated, asthma can cause long-term loss of lung function.

In the words of Henry Hyde Salter (1882), a physician at the Charing Cross Hospital, London

“I have seen several cases in which prolonged bodily exertion has been of great benefit, indeed, some in which it has been the best remedy to which the asthmatic could resort.”

According to the American Council on Exercise, most asthma patients would benefit from regular exercise. Swimming has been considered an excellent exercise as one is less likely to strain muscles because the water itself can cushion each person’s unique body weight. The fact still remains that no workout is complete without involvement of strength training. The trick is to begin slow and gradually increase on intensity.

Essentials of Strength Training

Weights : Start with 3- to 5-pound weights or soup cans to work the upper body and lower-body. Exercises like squats, push-ups and lunges can be included in your strength training routine.

Number of Days : Do strength training exercises three times a week. Do not replace cardio with strength training, on the other hand, you do swimming and strength training on alternate days.

Warm-up and stretch : Whatever exercise routine you and your doctor agree to, be sure and stretch adequately before and after each workout.

Cooling Down : Perform a graduated 10- to 30-minute cool-down after vigorous exercise. This allows the temperature changes in the airways to occur gradually and reduces the risk of exercise-induced asthma.

Inhaler Support: Always use your pre-exercise asthma inhalers (inhaled bronchodilators) before beginning exercise. A generic inhaler such as albuterol may provide you with more immediate relief and you would basically take just one puff and that’s it – when you have symptoms. The albuterol helps relax any swelling in the breathing tubes of your lungs. You should use asthma medication 15 minutes before exercising. Take 4 different puffs of blue reliever (Asmol, Epaq, Ventolin or Airomir). Take one puff at the time via spacer device. Take 3 breaths from the spacer after each puff of medication! Wait up to 5 minutes and until you do not feel attack symptoms anymore. If the symptoms do not stop, then use your blue reliever as before and stop with exercise. Visit your doctor and inform him/her about it!

*Note: This is a general advisory. Always consult a doctor before you start training.

Breathing : Exhale while lifting, take a short breath in between reps, and breath in while lowering the weight. this doesn’t work for all lifts, but you will find it helpful.

Avoid going beyond 70 to 80% Of max of your cardio level as this will decrease the likelihood of you encountering any additional stress.

In case of an attack during workout, stop exercising immediately.

Remember: Asthma is not a reason to avoid exercise. With proper diagnosis and the most effective treatment, you CAN enjoy the benefits of an exercise program without experiencing asthma symptoms.:

Sports vs. Neck Injury

The neck is part of a long flexible column, known as the spinal column or backbone, that extends through most of the body. The cervical spine (neck region) consists of seven bones (C1-C7 vertebrae), which are separated from one another by intervertebral discs. These discs allow the spine to move freely and act as shock absorbers during activity.

The spinal cord is a very vulnerable structure which connects the brain to the body and is in the middle of the cervical spine, protected by bony structures.

Various Sports can contribute to neck injuries of varying degrees of severity, including neck fractures and cervical spinal cord injuries (SCIs). A fractured (broken) neck is a very serious matter, but in many cases, the patient can make a full recovery and regain all neurological function.

Biking

Always Wear a Helmet: Many cycling injuries are head or neck injuries, the proper usage of SNELL, American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)-approved helmets can also help prevent SCI (Spinal Cord Injuries) injuries. It is essential that the helmet fit properly and that the helmet strap is closed and tightened so that it doesn’t fall off while riding or in a fall.

Children under one year of age should not be carried on a bicycle: necks are not strong enough to withstand the weight of a helmet on their heads.

Bike a minimum of three feet from parked cars, in case a door swings open.

Do not wear headphones.

Always obey local traffic regulations.

Never grab onto a moving vehicle to get a “free” ride.

Use “hand-signs” to indicate the direction of turns

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