SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- March 24, 2003 –Exercise-induced asthma (EIA), a common but serious condition usually brought on by vigorous aerobic activity, affects up to 20 percent of competitive athletes and 90 percent of asthma sufferers. The American Council on Exercise (ACE), America’s authority on fitness, today reminds the nation of the importance of recognizing the symptoms of EIA and offers tips to help combat this serious condition.
For those who show symptoms of EIA, ACE recommends consulting a physician immediately. Although EIA may prevent some individuals from participating in physical activity, regular exercise can actually help sufferers better cope with their sometimes debilitating medical condition.
“If you have experienced signs or symptoms of EIA, the first step is to consult a physician. Once diagnosed, it is essential to follow a treatment plan that may include a fast-acting inhaler,” said Dr. Cedric Bryant, chief exercise physiologist and vice president of educational services for ACE. “If symptoms are well controlled through proper medication and treatment, ample evidence exists to suggest that proper exercise can make the airways of the lungs less sensitive to the factors that precipitate the bronchospasms responsible for an EIA attack.”
How to recognize EIA:
- Trouble breathing six to eight minutes after the workout is completed
- Coughing or wheezing during physical activity
- A feeling of tightness in the chest
- Excessive tiredness or shortness of breath after exercising
Once diagnosed with EIA, following these basic guidelines can help individuals avoid experiencing an attack during exercise:
- Use a fast-acting inhaler 15-30 minutes before starting a workout. This will help reduce the likelihood of suffering an EIA attack and should last between four and six hours.
- Avoid asthma triggers as much as possible (e.g., cold air, pollution, pollen, etc.)
- Whenever possible, exercise in warm, humid air.
- Breathe through the nose as much as possible while exercising.
- Warm up for more than five minutes prior to starting a workout.
- Avoid sudden, intense exercise for sustained periods of time.
- If symptoms occur immediately stop exercising.
- Keep an inhaler on hand while exercising.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Gradually cool down at the end of your workout.
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) is a nonprofit organization committed to promoting active, healthy lifestyles and their positive effects on the mind, body and spirit. ACE pledges to enable all segments of society to enjoy the benefits of physical activity and to protect the public against unqualified fitness professionals and unsafe or ineffective fitness products, programs and trends. ACE accomplishes this mission by setting certification and continuing education standards for fitness instructors and through ongoing public education regarding scientifically sound health and fitness practices. For more information on ACE and its programs, call (800) 825-3636 or log onto the ACE Web site at www.acefitness.org.