On my journey to achieving my impossible goal of running an ultra marathon, I used every resource available to find the right training programme. I read avidly, in fact, you could say I was a woman obsessed! There was lots of solid advice out there; use your prescribed medication, move every day, avoid outdoor exercise in cold weather, avoid outdoor exercise when the pollen count is high, take the stairs instead of using the lift, aim for 150 minutes of exercise each week or 30 minutes 5 days a week, get off the bus 2 stops earlier and walk the rest of the way ….. you get the point. The problem isn’t that there isn’t any information, the problem is there is too much generalised information. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not knocking the advice out there but there isn’t a voice for what asthmatics really need to know.

Your body will tell you when a training plan is right for you. How will it tell you?

Simple Indicators During Exercise:

  • When exercise intensity is too high peripheral vision is lost as the brain is not able to gain the oxygen it needs to keep the full vision working. This is due to the increased oxygen demand from working muscles. If you pay attention to your vision you will notice this beginning to happening before you are gasping for air
  • Aching pain in the joints. Due to increased stimulation on mechanoreceptors (receptors found within each joint and the surrounding tendons and ligaments that relay joint position information to the brain). This is more common during impact forms of exercise such as jogging or boxing. It’s the joints way of saying I’m not strong enough for this yet!

Simple Indicators After Exercise:

  • Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). You feel great when you finish training but the next day your muscles are sore, stiff and aching. There is a historical saying in the fitness community “No pain, no gain!”. This refers to the need for the body to experience a form of overload in order to stimulate it to change. However, the pain of DOMS is caused by micro-tears in muscles that trigger an inflammatory response. DOMS is your muscles way of telling you that the overload stimulus was too high.
  • Mentally you would rather chew off your arm than complete your training for the day. This is a very different feeling from the general tiredness felt when beginning a new training programme. If you ignore this feeling symptoms increase to mimic those of having the flu as you push yourself into overtraining syndrome. Put simply the training plan has caused a bigger overload than the body is able to recover from.

These simple indicators are easy markers for everyone to look out for but especially important for asthmatics. Why? Imagine having an asthma attack when you are already suffering from overtraining syndrome … need I say more.

So I urge you to accept that you will be the slowest runner, swimmer or cyclist but remember the fable of the tortoise and the hare. I’d rather be a tortoise any day!



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