Asthma currently effects around 12% of the population (over 2 million people) in Australia. Young people are more commonly affected by asthma, with 14% of 0-19 yr olds suffering with the condition versus only 11% of people over the age of 19.
This is a serious consideration for society. Asthma can also be seen as a hurdle preventing many people from doing physical activity. A lack of physical activity is a major cause of our increasingly overweight population. Children are becoming more and more overweight, and it is generally accepted that good exercise and eating habits are established early in life. How can people with asthma safely exercise? Swimming!
Asthma is a reaction of the airways to a trigger. The reaction results in a swelling of the airways with extra mucous secretion as well as bronchospasm (a constriction of the muscle around the airways). These combine for an overall thinner narrowing of the airways. This makes breathing very difficult and uncomfortable.
Common triggers for asthma include; dust, dust mites, pollen, sudden temperature/weather changes and dry air. For this reason swimming is regularly suggested as exercise for asthmatics. The naturally humid environment which is often thermo regulated and very controlled makes for a much lower chance of triggering a bout of asthma. Swimming also helps asthmatics to develop good breathing practices and habits. Asthma is actively encouraged by many health care professionals and asthma foundations as a result of these factors.
Some of the world’s best swimmers were asthmatics who started swimming under suggestion only to find a hidden talent. Kieran Perkins is a good example.
The solution, see your doctor for treatment and start swimming.
If you enjoyed this article, you may be interested in Youth Sport, Iliotibial Band Syndrome , or Shoulder Injuries. Sports injuries are covered in more detail in the Diploma of Fitness.