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Myth-busting: Exercise can be good for asthma sufferers

(NC) At this time of year, it's common to feel the effects of holiday indulgences. But with the New Year upon us, many Canadians are ready to tackle their expanded waistlines and start working out. But for those with asthma, the idea of exercising can be met with fear and hesitation.

Exercise can be an asthma trigger if it is not under control. We breathe harder when we exercise, which causes water loss from our lungs and cools the lungs' moist lining. The drop in temperature within our lungs can cause an asthma attack with symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, chest tightening, and shortness of breath. However, it is a misconception that exercise should be avoided if you have asthma. On the contrary, as long as your asthma is well managed, exercising is recommended to keep your lungs and body in good shape.

Here are some top tips to keep you from coughing up while you're pumping up:

• Follow your doctor's advice: Take your asthma medications as prescribed by your doctor to help maintain control of your condition. This means taking your daily maintenance medication even when you are not having asthma symptoms.

• Warm up and cool down: Start exercising by doing low-level warm ups like walking and stretching to ease your body into it. After exercising, do similar cool down activities for at least 10 minutes and avoid suddenly stopping a high-intensity workout.

• Choose the right exercise and environment: Consider activities that include periods of rest such as circuit training. Swimming is another good option as the warm, moist air can help avoid asthma symptom flare-ups. Whether exercising indoors or outside, pay attention to the air quality and temperature.

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