Today I’m writing a blogpost which you’ve been asking for for quite a while. I once mentioned that my asthma is quite bad. And by quite bad I mean really bad. I take medication every morning and every night and a flu can make me so sick that I can’t walk up the stairs or don’t get up from my bed because I don’t get enough oxygen. Back when we lived in Shanghai my headmaster would let me miss school for a month every summer, because after the first hot season there I had to stay at the hospital for several weeks in order to get my lungs back to normal. And yet that wasn’t my only hospital stay. I also have allergic asthma and exercise-induced asthma. So you guys asked me how I can still do sports?
My answer is: how couldn’t I do sports?
I don’t run despite my asthma, but because of my asthma.
As I child I used to go to asthma school and there I was told that by doing sports my lungs will grow and become big and healthy. And that’s definitely what happened to me. I have exercise-induced asthma, but by now my lungs are so well trained that the threshold is so high that I barely ever get it. I remember how I started very slowly by half running / half walking 3 km. Next came four kilometres, then five, then ten and it only took me half a year to finish my first half marathon.
As an asthmatic you definitely have to start off slowly. And you should do lots of sports. Or rather regular sports so your lungs get used to it. Good training improves the function of the respiratory muscles and makes the oxygen supply more efficient. The threshold at which it comes to breathing difficulties can be moved upward by running.
You have to take your medication regularly and be careful when you struggle with allergies or a flue. Then you might want to stay at home. And always have your emergency spray with you! I’m also very careful when it comes to sprints, because that’s when I feel that I’m lacking some oxygen (pain in the shoulders, high lactate in legs and arms). But apart from that an asthmatic can run just as well as a non-asthmatic.