I’m not a doctor. I’m not a doctor. But I do have asthma. And I did think I had asthma for quite awhile before I went to a doctor. And I did struggle from it. And I knew there could be something more serious. But…I did nothing?
All right, let’s talk about how great air is. No, not a joke. When you can breathe during a workout, everything functions properly. Oxygen keeps your efforts lower. Oxygen keeps your muscles functioning well. Oxygen keeps you alive and functioning according to status quo.
Oxygen is great!
And when you don’t have it, you know it. You can’t do what you normally do, you can even be gasping for air. In the months leading up to me finally going to a doctor, I was hands-on-my-knees wheezing, coughing, and out of breath. And cursing.
The biggest symptoms of asthma especially during and after a workout is wheezing, coughing, and struggling to breathe. Googling the symptoms and listening to the wheeze could help set you off in the right direction.
There are some other things though. Triggers.
Now, I knew about this a little before talking to my doctor who told me I should check if I had triggers for this wheezing/coughing/lack of breathing. Which of course I did which meant I probably had asthma, according to her. The expert.
Let’s talk about that.
If you think you have a problem, go to the doctor. I’ll keep saying that. But if you want to figure out something more, keep a running log and note your breath.
What’s the weather like? Is it stupid cold? Are you running in a place so humid you might as well be underwater?
These are two very common triggers. When you’re going out for a run, that’s what we’re focusing on, or you’re in a super stuffy, humid workout room, make a note of what happens.
I workout in a dojo that’s in a warehouse. Not unlike a gym where there’s a lot of hard to reach areas to dust off, I am guaranteed to have asthma problems in that place. I also don’t do well around air conditioning because it blows dust and such around.
But I also live nearby to a lot of farms. Get the area some good ol’Midwest wind and there’s gonna be some allergens around.
I have always been sensitive to all sorts of chemicals but it was after I went out for a walk on a bad air quality day that I realized I had a problem. I could not breathe and was coughing for quite a while. Not to mention, my chest was tight.
To me, this is a big one. I can’t be around smokers, heavily polluted areas, exhaust fumes, or even go out on bad air quality days because I will not be able to breathe. This is what made my idea of exercise-induced asthma wrong. I had asthma. The whole shebang, according to my doctor, mainly because of these triggers.
Okay, so you’re suspicious. You’ve been suspicious.
Why aren’t you going to the doctor? Why aren’t you checking things out and maybe even getting an inhaler like me?
That brings me to the second half of this article.
For whatever reason, I just kept brushing off my problem as a simple thought, “I’m out of shape”. I’m young, 24, so the thought of having a serious lung or heart condition didn’t really cross my mind. It should have though. Heartburn, allergies, and anxiety could also play a role in asthma symptoms and sometimes I pushed my chest tightness, wheezing, and shortness of breath onto that.
I kept thinking that I was out of shape. I think I had an inkling that something wasn’t right and that I should not have felt so awful but not enough to make me go do something.
A lot of us tend to turn onto ourselves and think that we just aren’t working hard enough or that we can’t have asthma because we’re athletic. For whatever reason, too many of us brush it off. There are many articles out there that discuss the stigma of asthma and the perception that those dealing with it are weak.
So here I am to say this: there’s nothing wrong with having asthma. There’s nothing weak about it.
It is what it is.
If you are struggling especially as you exercise, please talk to a doctor. There might be other symptoms that will point to a different, more dangerous disease. You might actually have asthma and need an inhaler.
My point is simple: Don’t be stubborn, go see a doctor.
There’s absolutely no reason why if we can’t breathe well on a run that we should continue to force ourselves through that. When running, we should be able to maintain a nice easy pace and control our breathing. So slow down. If slowing down doesn’t fix the problem, head over to your doctor’s office.
Besides, we all could use a checkup right?