Have you heard that exercises like swimming and rowing are good for asthma? I believe so, however exercises are very good for asthmatics. What I mean by this is that the exercises act much on the body of the person and not on the disease. There is rather an improvement in the picture, by various factors. Let’s talk about one of them.
When a person has asthma or chronic bronchitis, there is an inflammation of the bronchi and bronchioles (they are the tubes that carry air to the lungs so that oxygen can be received). With this inflammation, swelling occurs and decreases the air flow and the consequent reduction of the air passage. The result is less oxygen absorbed and the sensation of breathlessness.
Most people do not know, but we do muscle contraction to inspire, or breathe in, in exhalation, we need just to relax and air leaves us. When there is swelling of the bronchi, the air does not come out easily and before all air is out of the lungs, the person inspires. But if the air does not come out, it will not fit more air, and thus the exchanged air volume is too small. The person starts to do this by increasing the speed of breathing, but this is not enough to absorb the necessary oxygen.
One way to break this mechanism is the introduction of exercises. Exercises that improve breathing. That’s because when you force breathing in, one stretches the respiratory muscles and the ribcage. Good exercises are swimming, rowing or recreational exercise such as playing football at a table with paper balls that must be moved by blowing through a straw. What matters is that the breathing is forced to strengthen the muscles. When the chest is back to its natural size, and as in the case of swimmers, the volume of air that can be ventilated is larger and thus seizures are not as severe. Exercise can also improve the immune system and decrease the magnitude allergic reactions, like asthma. In the case of chronic bronchitis, the causing agents should be removed, such as cigarettes. Anyway exercises can always help and has no contraindications.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Ivani Manzzo is PhD in Science from the School of Medicine UNIFESP – EPM in São Paulo, Brazil, with emphasis on obesity, pregnancy and exercise. In 2010 she began hers studies as Life Coach and has since worked helping people achieve their nutritional and heath goals. These articles are published with Dra Ivani Manzzo’s permission.