Breathing Right

Asthma is a nasty affliction with symptoms that include wheezing, chest congestion, chest tightness, coughing, or shortness of breath. Exercising in cold, dry air is usually the most troublesome for asthmatics, while activities like swimming are often tolerated much better. Usually, a thorough warm-up before exercise can help prevent symptoms, and many athletes with asthma have risen to the top of their game. Just look at former marathon world-record holder Alberto Salazar or Olympic gold medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee, both diagnosed with asthma. Jonathan also has asthma, but nevertheless may be the best athlete in his apartment building. (Actually, Jonathan, who was severely afflicted with asthma as a child, has benefited greatly from exercise, and though he never rides without his inhaler, his condition no longer prevents him from competing.)

Today, with the advances in medications that can help prevent or alleviate symptoms with few side effects, asthmatics have every reason to exercise if they choose. Your doctor can prescribe an inhaler, which you should keep with you whenever exercising in case symptoms arise.

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