You can’t keep your kids with asthma from being active, but you can help them choose the right activities.
While football can be a rough sport, it is actually one of the best sports for those with asthma. The many breaks between downs let you rest and can reduce the chances of an attack.
Former Pittsburgh Steeler Jerome Bettis is one of the greatest running backs of all time. He was diagnosed with asthma at 15, after passing out at a high school football practice. He went on to play for the Fighting Irish at Notre Dame, then in the NFL for 13 seasons. He was named NFL Rookie of the Year and won a Super Bowl in 2006.
A recent study found that walking 3 times a week for 3 weeks improved asthma control, and overall fitness.
Yoga is great for asthma because it requires good breath control. One study found that some who did yoga 2.5 hour a week for 10 weeks could cut down on their meds.
Baseball’s spurts of running with plenty of down time gives kids exercise without raising their breathing rate for too long, making it great for asthma sufferers.
Golf, with its delayed activity, is good if you struggle catching your breath, and the focus it requires is great for your mind. Just beware of outdoor allergens!
Tennis and other racquet sports let you exercise with regular rests and water breaks.
Swimming is the ideal activity for those with asthma because you breathe in warm wet air the whole time, and being horizontal can help loosen and clear your lungs.
As a kid, Amy Van Dyken’s couldn’t even climb a flight of stairs because her asthma was so bad. At just 6 years old, she took up swimming when her doctor told her breathing humid air might help her lungs. Swimming was hard at first, but with the help of her meds and support from her family and friends, Amy swam her way to 4 gold medals at the Athens Olympics and another 2 at Sydney’s.
The important thing to remember though is that your asthma should never hold you back from going after your dreams.
Look at Jackie Joyner-Kersee, who broke into track-and-field star, even though she had asthma. She is a four-time Olympian with 3 gold medals. She was diagnosed as a freshman at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA). In an interview with Sports Illustrated, she said, “I finally learned I had to respect asthma as much as I would an opponent.”
Knowing your triggers, using your meds and action plan, and working with your doctor can make amazing things possible.