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Monday, February 23, 2015

7 Incentives for Living Healthy with Asthma

The following post was originally published at on January 22, 2014.

7 Incentives for Asthmatics to Maintain a Healthy Body

As each new year comes around, many among us make a New Year's resolution, the most common of which is to eat a healthy diet, exercise, and get in shape. This is a resolution that is especially important for asthmatics, one that should not be broken as the year progresses. What follows are seven incentives for asthmatics to maintain a healthy body.

1. Exercise increases stamina: Perhaps there really is no study necessary to prove that the more you work out the stronger your heart and lungs will become, and the more tolerant they will be to exertion. However, many studies have confirmed this nonetheless. The simple fact is that asthmatics tend to have an increased risk for getting short of breath with exertion and, therefore, this is an added incentive for asthmatics to stay physically active.

2. Obesity linked to worsening asthma: Various studies have confirmed a link between obesity and worsening asthma. The main reason for this is because fat cells seem to increase the release of inflammatory markers that may cause inflammation, or make chronic inflammation in asthmatic lungs worse. Obviously you should accept who you are as a person regardless of your weight, but if you have asthma you have an additional incentive here to lower your calorie intake and shed some pounds.

3. Exercise may reduce anxiety: Many studies have linked asthma and anxiety. Many others have confirmed that exercise reduces anxiety. Put these two together and you have yourself yet another incentive to keep your body physically active.

4. Exercise improves immune system: With a stronger immune system your body will be better capable of fighting off the germs that are spread from person to person. Plus, when your body becomes infected with a respiratory virus (the no. 1 asthma trigger), your body will be better capable of fighting it off. So this is yet another incentive for you hop on the treadmill or exercise bike.

5. High-fat foods trigger and cause asthma: Studies have confirmed the link between Burger King, McDonalds and KFC with worsening asthma control. This means that the more high-fat foods you put into your body the greater your risk of worsening asthma control. One theory suggests that your asthmatic immune system might recognize saturated fat as an enemy and promptly acts to rid it from your system. So this is yet another incentive to avoid those high-fat foods you know you should avoid anyway.

6. Healthy foods boost immune system: Studies have found that asthmatics who eat foods with higher levels of folic acid had better asthma control. The reason for this may be because folic acids somehow lower IgE antibodies, or antibodies responsible for the asthma allergy response in the lungs. Folic acid is found in many foods, such as beans, peas, nuts, whole grain breads, potatoes, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, bananas and berries. So this is a nice incentive for eating these healthier food options.

7. Most doctors recommend a healthy diet and exercise: Most asthma doctors recommend you take time off if your asthma is acting up. At the same time, most doctors also recommend that all asthmatics exercise no matter how severe their asthma is. If you can run on the treadmill, great. But if all you can do is a walk through the park, that’s great too. The important thing is that you do something. The same is true for eating healthy foods. Doctors see the evidence every day by their training and practice. So if they say you should eat healthy and exercise, that should be a good incentive right there.

Getting yourself in shape, eating healthy foods, and exercising can all help you obtain better asthma control. No one is saying you have to be perfect, but we recommend you choose a healthy diet and workout program that works best for you and get started today. You now have seven incentives to do just that.

For tips on how to exercise with asthma check out my post “14 Tips for Exercising with Asthma.”

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