Can you still run with Asthma?



Ive just been diagnosed with Asthma, which was caused by a chest infection. Id just started running again after a long break and then I was hit by a chest infection that lasted about 2 months. Had antibiotics, then I complained I still had minor symptoms (tight chest) I was told it was secondary asthma caused by the chest infection. I have inhalers now.


Has anyone else experienced this?

 – just worried that’s it for running L



  • I don't have any experience myself, but I do know that some people with asthma do run.

    Maybe talk to your doctor about it?

  • Mr PuffyMr Puffy ✭✭✭
    I have a friend with Asthma, she very occasionally has to drop out of a run and inhale before walking back but in general she is fine.  Then at the extreme there are Paula Radcliffe and Haile Gebrselassie.
  • Having asthma and doing sports such as running should not be a problem. Always consult your GP though who can provide specific advice depending on the severity of your symptoms.

    As Mr Puffy says there are many elite athletes across many sports who have asthma. David Beckham is another high profile sports person who also has it.

  • I have asthma and run...I've found it's taken a while but my asthma has become less of a problem the fitter I've become. At the beginning I had to run with the blue puffer and take it regularly whilst running, but now I tend to run with it just for the security blanket value. I'd agree with checking with a GP. There are so many varieties of inhalers it's best to work out the combination you need.
  • SunluvvaSunluvva ✭✭✭
    I have asthma and run, the key is to take a couple of puffs before you start running - don't start and wait till you're wheezing. Also always take the inhaler with you and use it if you need to as many puffs as you need, don't worry if it's more than the prescribed dosage - that's for people sitting on their backsides not for people chasing up a hill, if you had to have a nebuliser for an attack it delivers something like 50-100 times the normal dose - possibly even more, can't remember the exact figure but it's alot so don't worry about having 4 or 5 puffs if you need it. Excessive heat and cold can exacerbate it as much as damp so don't be surprised if you feel yourself getting short of breath in different conditions. Most of all, don't let it put you off running, just puff and go image
  • I agree with all the above - but also make sure that you take your preventer regularly. I really notice a huge difference if I miss my regular doses. I use an aero chamber for my preventer which my asthma nurse recommended - no offence to any doctors reading this but I got a lot more useful information and help from my asthma nurse, so do see one if you can.
    On the whole my breathing is under control and doesn't affect my running but every so often, especially when fields of rape are yellow and the weather is iffy, it can be a bit of a struggle.
    Don't let it stop you running - it will get easier to control image
  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭
    I'm as asthma sufferer and I run. It actually gets better with my running and my distances. Make sure that you see your asthma nurse/doctor and take your preventor inhaler with you on every run.
  • Hey friends,

    Thank you for your valuable thought, Exercise-induced asthma (EIA) is caused by a constriction of the airways in your lungs brought on by vigorous exercise. Runners with EIA experience wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath. With proper treatment, you can run and race relatively symptom-free. But discovering the right combination of therapy and medication can be a trial-and-error process.

    Nice to meet you

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  • Hey friends,

    Thank you for your valuable thought, Exercise-induced asthma (EIA) is caused by a constriction of the airways in your lungs brought on by vigorous exercise. Runners with EIA experience wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath. With proper treatment, you can run and race relatively symptom-free. But discovering the right combination of therapy and medication can be a trial-and-error process.

    Nice to meet you
  • I suffer with asthma but also run halfs and 10k's, I'm not a world beater but that's not what it's about for me. 

    You should be able to manage your asthma with medication. Religous use of preventers in the morning and evening should restrict/remove the need to use a (blue) reliever. A good asthma nurse/clinic should be abe to help you out. Use of peak flow meter can help you if you know what your target peak flow should be, it will allow you to monitor your peakflow and where it dips from your base/average. 

    I use the above and find I rarely use my reliever. 

    Unless you're a chronic sufferer you should be able to run as normal, just take your blue inhaler with you and let someone know what route you are taking and how long you expect to be.

    Good luck!

  • I was diagnosed with asthma as an adult, about 7 years ago at age 32-ish, when I ended up in A&E one night completely unable to breathe and not having a clue what was happening to me. It was a combination of a bad chest infection, being a smoker, various allergies, cold weather and plaster dust from house renovations. They kept me in hospital for a week on a bunch of freaky steroids then let me go with a bunch of different coloured inhalers. I was told to stop smoking, which I did, immediately, but just left to deal with it myself...

    I disliked the idea of being dependent on steroids (preventer inhaler) for the rest of my life, and worked out that my asthma was mostly allergy induced anyway and not the most dangerous sort, so gradually weaned myself off the preventer. (I did tell my doctors I was doing it, and while they initially advised against it, I did it anyway and in the end they admitted that it worked out very well for me.) I would get wheezy around dogs and cats and horses, and in cold weather, but the blue inhaler sorted that out. I read that asthma was a lot to do with stress and relaxation and the type of breathing you do, so I took up Tai Chi for de-stressing purposes, which worked brilliantly. One time I ended up back in A&E at 2am with a bad chest infection and a broken inhaler, but they let me out very quickly with a new inhaler and some steroid pills, and for the most part I've been fine since.

    I kept running after diagnosis and just made sure I always took my blue inhaler with me. In very cold weather I ran with a buff over my nose and mouth, which helped. Like Sunluvva says, take a couple of puffs before you start, and if you need more than a couple to relieve symptoms, go right ahead. You won't overdose on a blue inhaler - a few different asthma doctors in hospital told me as many as 20-30 puffs was perfectly fine if it was needed. I also agree with hartles about exercise actually helping asthma.

    Mine improved over time to the point where I hardly notice it any more. I use my blue inhaler before running in very cold dry weather, and on the few occasions I've forgotten it I'm a bit shorter of breath than normal if I'm doing a fast run, but that usually passes after a couple of miles. Don't let the fear of having an attack stop you from exercising - just be careful. Take a mobile and your inhaler and make sure someone knows where you're going and when you'll be back.

    Oh, and btw I continued to get fitter and improve my speed and get PBs after diagnosis image

  • just a quick one,,,i have asthma and i think running helps me just make sure u got your inhaler i run marathons half marathons lots of walking up moutains etc...

  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭

    Can't add much to the above.

    I have asthma, but only seem to get symptoms in winter.  I start taking my preventer in September and use it every day until the warm weather arrives.  Good idea to use the aero chamber - more gets into your lungs.

    In my case the worst symptoms come from breathing in cold air.  I've had to accept that I can't run hard, or race in winter.  On my training runs I also run with a buff over my mouth.  This works very well, but can't run at a hard pace without going purple in the face!

    I was advised by my Dr (a triathlete) to take two puffs of the reliever (blue) about 15 minutes before a race. and up to 15 puffs can be taken at a time if need be if feeling tight chested.  I carry the blue inhaler with me in long races (up to 100 miles).

    Jo90 - try to get referred to a chest clinic who are very good at gsorting out the right treatment, and will review you regularly, and give you terrible spirometry tests!  Or perhaps your GP is a whizz with asthma.

  • I echo most of what is said above - at a recent asthma clinic check up I had to do that test where you blow into a tube thingy (very tech description!!!) the nurse says it's the best results she's ever seen in the clinic. I can only put this down to the amount of running I do!
  • just going through the process like you - appointment next wednesday - think running in april on an ifection has contributed to my potential asthma. I run up to mararhon distance and I know friends who run ( and are faster than me and who have asthma). I just want this diagnosed properly so I can move on with my life and get back to running. Strange how exercise can cause ailments - in my case and yours EIA.

  • I find it tough in particular seasons, but it is possible. I find few problems during events, but feel I could be better if my training was not hampered by the Autumn/Winter months. A few thoughts here:

  • I have asthma and only struggle slightly when pollen levels are high. It doesn't really affect me, I still run, play lots of sports and hardly ever need to use my inhalers other than at night for precaution.

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