Why is swimming good for asthmatics? Does swimming reduce asthma symptoms?
Exercise plays a vital role in leading a healthy, balanced life. This is especially the case for asthma sufferers, as keeping fit is an important component of successful asthma management.
Swimming is not only good for asthmatics, it’s also a proof that asthma sufferers can become world-class athletes. Some of Australia’s greatest Olympic swimmers (Dawn Fraser & Grant Hackett, along with our current World Champion Jess Schipper) were asthmatics, proving asthma need not be a barrier to physical fitness!
At Hampton Swim School, we’d like to help you decide whether swimming is a good choice for you and/or your child.
Is all exercise good for asthmatics?
Asthma is a condition characterised by its many variables including its severity, its seasonal incidence, and the things that trigger an asthma attack . If you’re an asthmatic, or have an asthmatic child, you’ll know that finding the right type of exercise can be a delicate balance.
On the one hand, exercise is really important to:
- manage asthma symptoms
- maintain general health
- reduce the likelihood of an asthma attack.
But at the same time, exercise can be a trigger for asthma. So the trick is to find a form of exercise that is less likely to irritate an asthmatic.
Not all exercise is necessarily good for asthmatics, but swimming is often a very good choice. Each person is different, and you should consult your doctor about the best form of exercise for you.
How is swimming good for asthmatics?
The warm, humid air in and around a swimming pool is thought to evoke an airway response that increases the volume of the lungs and helps develop good breathing technique. This can make swimming a much safer (and more comfortable) form of exercise for asthmatics and also serve as a non-pharmacological approach for the treatment of asthma.
Studies have shown that swimming can reduce:
- asthma symptoms
- the amount of asthma medication needed
- trips to the doctor
- sick days away from school or work.
Is swimming good for all asthmatics?
Swimming is not necessarily the right choice of exercise for all asthmatics.
New research has thrown doubt on whether the effects on the lungs of inhaling the atmosphere at pool level are exclusively beneficial due to products that we inhale at water level as we swim. The chlorine gas emitted from heavily chlorinated water or trapped in indoor pools with low ventilation is thought to damage the inside of the lungs. When organic matter (sweat, urine and shed skin cells) makes contact with chlorine, toxic gases such as those that trigger an asthma attack or make eyes sting are released.
For the concerned swimmers, alternatives to assist in asthma management are available. Locate a pool that is outdoors or has good ventilation, or try an ozone, ultraviolet, copper/silver or magnesium based filtration system that many pool owners and swim schools are now installing. Naturally, asthma sufferers should always regularly monitor asthma in conjunction with their doctor.
Of course, if you or your child starts to develop asthma symptoms during any form of exercise, you should stop straight away and rethink your approach.
Why Hampton Swim School is a good choice for asthmatics
At Hampton Swim School, we are aware of the needs of asthmatics and have years of experience working with asthma sufferers.
Also, the 3 pools we use in Bulimba, Norman Park, and Morningside are all open-air, which is better for asthmatics.
Contact us to find out more about swimming lessons or classes for asthmatics.