People commonly regard regular exercise as necessary for a healthy overall physical state, but it, unfortunately, isn't always easy for everyone to take part in such activities. In spite of the importance of exercise, there are times when our bodies can work against us. In turn, that makes working out difficult. For example, one of the most common ailments that frustrate attempts to exercise is asthma.

According to one estimate by the World Health Organization, almost a quarter of a billion people worldwide suffer from asthma. That's a lot of individuals who might have trouble exercising! Rather than let the fear of an asthma attack keep you from getting the exercise your body needs, though, there are other options. In fact, there are many types of exercise which are quite suitable for asthmatics. One of the best exercises for asthma sufferers is swimming.

Donning your swimsuit, strapping on your goggles, and diving into the pool can be excellent for your overall physical health! Of course, it can have mental health benefits too. Putting aside the limitations of asthma and finding the exercise that works best for you is an empowering experience.

So if you suffer from asthma, what's the best way to incorporate swimming into your lifestyle? Besides that, why even do it in the first place ? that is, what makes swimming so ideal in this case? We'll dig into this topic and help you learn the facts. From how swimming is beneficial to asthmatics to figuring out how to get started, we'll cover everything you need to know. Let's "dive" right in!


Why Swimming is a Healthy Activity for Asthmatics

First and foremost, it's important to put to rest a concern that many people hold. Exercise, and more specifically swimming itself, will not make your asthma any worse. While it is true that close exposure to chlorine fumes from indoor swimming pools in small spaces can cause irritations of the lungs, most pools are well ventilated and don?t present a problem.You aren't at any greater risk of having an asthma attack around the pool than you are anywhere else.


With that said, there is additional evidence that the humid, moist atmosphere around pools actually yields benefits for asthmatics. Because dry airways are often the initial cause of an asthma attack, the humidity of a pool keeps those passageways open. Over time, this factor combined with the aerobic exercise you get from swimming can lead to better overall lung function. That can translate to fewer asthma attacks and an improved ability to handle physical activity.While additional studies are necessary to investigate the links between swimming and improved health for asthmatics, it's clear that there are already some benefits.

Pro swimmers understand the benefits the sport holds for those with asthma. In fact, there are several asthmatic swimmers competing at a professional level. These individuals mention that the control one learns over their breathing while swimming helps them to cope with asthma. When opportunities for exercise seem limited, swimming can offer a whole new world of chances for fun and fitness. With pro swimmers learning how to cope with their fitness and this condition, anyone can! That's to say nothing about the overall benefits of swimming for your body, too.

While you learn breath control, you'll also be improving your heart health and even developing additional tone to your muscles. Swimming is easy on your joints, but still provides more resistance for your body to work against than air. This resistance is what makes it such a useful exercise, and part of why it's so well suited to individuals with asthma. The body gets to work out harder without putting yourself at an increased risk of having an attack. So now you know that it's good for you ? what's next? 

How to begin easing yourself into the pool


Once you make the decision to dive into the pool to start developing your fitness in spite of your asthma, it's easy to get stuck. How do you begin? What kind of routine should you follow, and how should you prepare? Let's focus on that last question first. To start, you will (of course) need appropriate swimwear. Snug goggles are also a good idea for when you spend long periods of time swimming laps.

A bathing cap is optional but not required. Always make sure you bring a fresh towel with you to the pool, and one other important item as well ? your inhaler. Though you aren't likely to trigger an attack, you should prepare just the same as any activity. Keep it close by and within reach so that you can exit the pool immediately at the first sign of a problem. Now comes the time to work out how to spend your time in the pool.

First, try to dedicate at least a few days a week ? three or four ? to your exercise habits. It may seem like a lot at first, but the improvements in your fitness will be worth it; besides, exercise requires commitment. Next, formulate your approach. There are many sample workout plans available on the web which you can customize to suit your needs. You can also investigate swimming drills and just practice each one until you feel comfortable enough to move forward.

For example, you may start out being unable to swim straight for very long. Focus on improving that. Swim as far as you can, rest, and then do it again. Soon you'll be swimming lengths with no problem. Now you can move on up to swimming laps. Mix up your workout and feel free to investigate other water-based exercises, including water aerobics classes. These are all excellent ways to improve your health without impacting your asthma.



Build a foundation for long term fitness results


The more you swim, the easier it will become, and the less concerned you'll be about your asthma each time you hit the pool. If the research we mentioned is anything to go by, you may even feel better than when you started!

It's important not to lose sight of your goals, though, just because of short term gains. Remember that you will need to stick to your new habits if you want to see results in the long term. Remember, there are plenty of ways to help reduce the effects of your asthma on your activities if you still feel bothered.

Once you've become proficient and comfortable with swimming, you may want to change up your routine a bit. Sure, swimming is fun, but what about other activities? 


Explore other ways you can exercise, too


Because it is largely exercise which is too vigorous that triggers attacks, there are other ways you can explore exercising. Once you're breathing better from swimming, try some light jogging.

Bicycling is also a good activity for those with asthma due to the ability to determine how strenuously you wish to exercise. Sports can have a good effect on your physical fitness and health as well. Games such as golf require a fair amount of movement and activity without being overly taxing. In the end, what matters is placing a focus on your wellness.

As you begin to explore swimming and exercising with asthma, it's important to take things slow. Don't push yourself harder or for longer than your body can handle. You will develop better abilities in time, but first, comes the practice. Remember your goals while you've got your head down swimming lap after lap. Don't forget to treat yourself once in a while, too ? everyone deserves a reward for the hard work of physical fitness.


Don't let your asthma keep you from enjoying the pool


Whether you are an asthma sufferer yourself or the parent of an asthmatic child, finding a way to exercise without triggering an attack can be a challenge. Answering that challenge could be as easy as heading down to your local community pool, though. With all the evidence pointing towards the benefits of swimming combined with the low barrier to entry, it's an exercise everyone should try out at least once. You might even use it as a gateway to other sports. By building up your endurance and stamina, you can prepare yourself for more intense activities. For asthma sufferers everywhere, swimming offers a fun and relaxing release ? plus an excellent way to improve fitness. Think about going for a swim sometime soon!