Swimming has become a common form of exercise for people with asthma. In fact, it is an activity and competitive sport for many asthmatics, even Olympian athletes! One such athlete is Olympic gold medalist Amy Van Dyken who won a total of six gold medals in the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games. Van Dyken was diagnosed with asthma at a young age. When she was 6 years old, her pediatrician suggested she take up swimming, and the rest is Olympic gold history. Amy has since retired from competitive swimming competitively.
Because swimming helped this world-class athlete with asthma, perhaps it can help you, too. Be sure to talk to your doctor before diving in.
Benefits of Swimming With Asthma
There are benefits to swimming when you have asthma. Swimming induces less instances of bronchoconstriction – when the airways constrict, resulting in shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing – than other sports, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Swimming is an excellent exercise option for people with asthma. In fact, swimming is sometimes utilized as asthma therapy. Learning to regulate breathing is crucial for asthma sufferers, and swimming a lap requires swimmers to pace their breathing in order to make it across the length of the pool. Warm air in a cool pool is a combination that works for asthma sufferers. Swimmers with asthma gain more benefits from swimming than they could with other activities.
Keeping the airways of the lungs open is the key to avoiding an asthma attack. The primary goal for every person with asthma is unrestricted airways. Swimming in an indoor pool provides an opportunity that other exercises don’t. The indoor pools’ humidity is credited with helping to keep airways open.
Primarily found outside, pollen and mold spores are allergens, which can trigger asthma attacks. Swimmers obviously aren’t typically exposed to these triggers while swimming in an indoor pool. Additionally, dried-out airways – often the result of being exposed to cold, dry air – can trigger asthma attacks. The air surrounding an indoor pool is humid and moist. And because exercise, including swimming, increases breathing rate, swimmers’ airways tend not to dry out.
Swimming when you have asthma is a good idea. It increases physical fitness that might otherwise be impossible for asthma sufferers. Swimming provides the perfect conditions for good breathing and it increases lung function. However, if you have asthma, be sure to check with your doctor before starting any physical activity.
Find out more about what is appropriate or not appropriate when you have asthma by contacting the primary care providers at Advanced Medical in Wellington and Royal Palm Beach, Florida. Call us at (561) 434-1935 or use our convenient appointment request form.