The American Lung Association sponsored this post.
Everyone says that getting older can take a toll on you. When I became an adult, I had a handful of things change for me. Aside from developing some pretty severe medication allergies like aspirin, I also developed asthma. In my senior year of high school, we started a co-ed soccer team. I noticed that I was having a lot of trouble breathing because of all of the running I was doing. A doctor told me that I developed asthma and that working out triggers my symptoms. I've struggled with exercise-induced asthma since then.
For a few years, I was on daily asthma medication, but I wanted to tackle the times that I noticed my asthma the most and address them on a case by case basis. For me, it's when I'm getting heavy exercise, or there are allergy irritants that make breathing worse. If I'm cleaning a dusty room or the pollen count outside is really high, I have to take extra steps so that I don't have an asthma attack. This year the pollen has been so bad that I've taken allergy medications daily and limited my outdoor time. When it finally settles, I'll be able to enjoy spending time outside again. I can't wait to get out the kayaks this year!
I've learned a lot about how my body reacts to certain types of exercise. Unfortunately, I can't handle high-intensity training because when my heart rate jumps, my asthma flares up. One of my favorite exercising activities is Zumba and dance classes. I've discovered that if I use my inhaler at the beginning of class, I can make it through the whole class without having to stop. It opens my airways early in the workout so I can breathe the entire time. I've also learned that if I exercise on a regular schedule my lungs get stronger and I don't have to use my inhaler as often. With my school schedule, it's hard to get into a routine, but I can see a difference in once-in-awhile exercise versus regular exercise.
My gym opened a fantastic new open-air workout station that I'm dying to check out. I'll need to wait for the pollen count to lower and get into a regular routine before jumping in though.
May 7th is World Asthma Day, and the American Lung Association is bringing awareness to asthma for the month of May. It's essential to develop an Asthma Action Plan for yourself and if you have children with asthma. Because my asthma journey started later in life, I've had to learn through trial and error. The American Lung Association created an Asthma Basics course for anyone looking to learn more about asthma, including how to manage triggers and respond to an asthma attack. I think learning about what my triggers are has helped me better control my asthma before it becomes a problem.