Step 2: Make a Plan
Before you embark on a new exercise regimen, you'll need an updated Asthma Action Plan. This document will serve as a guide for monitoring your symptoms, taking your medicines, and anticipating problems. A template for creating your Asthma Action Plan is available from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.
Dr. Jeanette Nazarian, a board certified pulmonologist at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, advises, "You'll need to meet with your asthma care provider to discuss the kind of exercise you'd like to do, how much you want to do, how strenuous it will be, and what the weather and air conditions will likely be." These factors, along with the severity of your asthma and its symptoms, will guide the exercise program. Dr. Nazarian adds, "There's no exercise an asthmatic can't do with proper medical supervision." Together, you and your doctor will make a plan to minimize the impact of your asthma.
Follow your Asthma Action Plan before you work out. For some, this may include using your short- or long-acting inhaler before exercise and possibly tucking it into a fanny pack along with your iPod. For others, it may include checking the air quality index (AQI), available from the Environmental Protection Agency, which posts real-time local conditions and forecasts for 300 American cities. If you know that poor air quality affects your asthma symptoms, make adjustments that work for you. Do your toughest workouts in the morning, since ozone is usually worse in the afternoon and early evening, particularly during summer months.