December 12, 2023

How to Run with Asthma

Woman running outside

Lung health is vital for people with asthma, so you shouldn’t let your condition keep you from exercising. In fact, many elite athletes have asthma, training and competing at a high level.

Running is an excellent way to promote lung health. As long as you observe and manage your asthma symptoms before, during, and after running, you can safely enjoy its many health benefits.

Running with Asthma: How Your Body Benefits

Running with asthma is not only safe when done correctly, but it also provides multiple health benefits, including:

  • Improved aerobic fitness
  • Better asthma control
  • Increased social connections if you run with others
  • Better overall health
  • Improved quality of life 

10 Tips for Running if You Have Asthma

If you have asthma and want to make running part of your exercise routine, there’s no reason not to consider it. Use these 10 asthma running tips to ensure you enjoy your workout safely.

  1. Talk with your doctor first. They may have recommendations on how to begin your routine, exercise intensity, and duration, etc. In some cases, they may recommend that you premedicate before running. You should also discuss how to proceed if you experience worsening symptoms on a run.
  2. Carry a rescue inhaler. Whether you’re starting an exercise program or have gotten comfortable with running, you should always carry a rescue inhaler. You never know when something in your body or the environment will trigger an attack, and being prepared is crucial.
  3. Warm up and cool down. It’s best for your lungs — and your body in general — to stretch before starting a run and ease into it at a slower pace. Then, you should repeat that process in reverse order, slowing your pace near the end of your run and stretching to wrap up the session.
  4. Monitor your asthma symptoms before running. If your symptoms are elevated, you may need to pause your running until you have them back under control.
  5. Run indoors if the weather is cold. Chilly air can increase the risk of an asthma attack. If the forecast calls for low temperatures, it’s better for your lungs if you run indoors.
  6. Consider wearing a mask. This practice can reduce your exposure to pollen and other asthma triggers. In addition, if you want to run when it’s cooler outside, a mask can help warm the air you breathe, reducing your risk of an asthma attack.
  7. Know and heed your limits. Running can be strenuous for anyone — those with asthma and those who don’t have it. Consequently, it’s vital to know your intensity and duration limits and stay within them. Rather than pushing yourself, enjoy the activity safely, and look forward to your next run.
  8. Prioritize running after it rains. Rain removes pollutants and allergens from the air, so the period following precipitation is an excellent time for a run.
  9. Quit smoking. Smoking worsens asthma and reduces your ability to tolerate aerobic activities like running. If you want to start a running program, it’s best to quit smoking first.
  10.  Shower after your run. Showering removes allergens you may have picked up on your run. The warm, moist air also benefits your lungs.

Go for a Run Safely with Guidance from Baptist Health

Asthma doesn’t have to keep you from pursuing activities you enjoy — especially those, like running, that are good for your lungs, body, and mind. Talk with your Baptist Health physician, lace up your shoes, and get moving.

If you don’t have a provider, you can find one near you using our online directory.

Learn More.