I Cannot Breathe

I Cannot Breathe- HELP

Written by: Emma Anius

When exercising; do you ever experience shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, pain or fatigue?  This may be due to more than you over exerting yourself, you may have exercise-induced asthma (EIA).  This is caused when your airways tighten and produce extra mucus, the extra mucus can obstruct your airways and make it hard to push the air that is needed out of your lungs


EIA doesn’t occur in everyone and it is still unclear as to what the cause of EIA is, but what is known is there are certain factors that can trigger or worsen EIA.  Cold or dry air has been known to trigger EIA as has air pollution, a high pollen count, suffering from a cold and certain chemicals, such as the chlorine in swimming pools.

There are a couple risk factors to watch out for and just because you do not have asthma this doesn’t mean you can’t suffer from having EIA, it can also occur in people of any age and activity level, and those that have poorly controlled asthma, hay fever or other allergies, exposure to air pollution or pollen, and smoking can also contribute to developing EIA.


Sadly there is no particular exercise you must avoid when you have EIA, but activities that make you breathe harder are more likely to trigger symptoms such as running or playing basketball. Activities like golfing, yoga or moderate-paced walking should be fine to participate in without suffering any symptoms.  Exercising in cold weather also can increase EIA symptoms because you’re breathing in a lot of cold, dry air.


Although there is nothing you can do to prevent the development of exercise-induced asthma, there are certain techniques you can adopt to prevent it from arising all the time.  Warming up before you exercise is a way to not only prevent injury but also prevent EIA from occurring, try to exercise in places where you can avoid allergens such as pollen or car fumes as they could potentially worsen your symptoms.


When exercising people tend to breath through their mouth, which makes the air that goes inside your lungs very cold which can cause an attack during an exercise session. When exercising the extra mucus produced can obstruct your airways and make it hard to push the air that is needed out of your lungs, if possible learn to breathe through your nose while exercising to warm the air before it reaches into your lungs.


With EIA the symptoms of an attack usually start about five to twenty minutes after you begin the strenuous exercise. Most of the time the symptoms will be gone within an hour, usually sooner.

Don’t let this deter you from having a good exercise session, staying in good shape can ease asthma symptoms in the long run, many famous athletes suffer from asthma. With the right treatment and techniques implemented they can stay as active as they need to be for their sport without suffering any sort of asthma attack.

Looking after your body is the key to healthy living.


If you have any concerns about exercise induced asthma then please contact your doctor.


If you have no time to exercise or don’t know where to begin:




Medicine ball twists x 10, adductor lift x 15, side lunge x 10, squat x 10, plank x 30 seconds





Medicine ball twists x 50, adductor lift x 25, side lunge x 20, squat x 15, plank x 60 seconds



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