Walking and asthma

Improving overall fitness can be very helpful for people with asthma. It can help you increase your lung capacity, build your stamina and make you feel more relaxed.

Although exercise can be a trigger for asthma, low-moderate intensity exercise like walking is less likely to be a trigger and can actually help your asthma.

Walking is an excellent way to start getting active. You can start off with easy walks and build up slowly as your fitness improves. Find out more about how we can help you get started and the many health benefits of walking.

To make sure you have an enjoyable walk you should take the following special precautions:

  • If you're worried about getting started, consult your doctor or asthma nurse first.
  • Make sure someone you are walking with knows you have asthma and knows what to do if you have an asthma attack.
  • Carry an Asthma Attack Card with you.
  • Use your reliever-inhaler at least 30 minutes before you set out, and make sure you take it with you.
  • Always warm up with ten minutes of gentle exercise to build up your breathing rate slowly, and cool down afterwards.
  • Breathe through your nose, not just your mouth: the nose-hairs help warm up the air.
  • Try to avoid pollution by choosing routes away from busy roads, especially during rush hours. Try to avoid urban walks on days when pollution levels are high (check weather reports): if you live in a city, look for large open spaces or wide expanses of water. If pollution is a particular problem, for example during the pollen season if you also suffer from hay fever, try indoor exercise instead.
  • Take it easy on cold, dry days. Try breathing through a fleece or silk scarf when the air is cold.

For more information on asthma and physical activity see the Asthma UK website.