Exercising With Asthma

Soccer girl outdoors

Exercise is important for all children and teens, including those with asthma. There is no need to keep your child from being active due to asthma.

With the right treatment and planning, your child can be active at home and school.

Have an Asthma Action Plan

Written by your child’s doctor, an asthma action plan gives steps to treat your child when he has asthma signs. Make sure your child’s school and coach has a copy of this plan.

If exercise is one of your child’s triggers, talk to your child’s doctor about pre-treating with his quick-relief inhaler with a spacer 15 to 20 minutes before exercise. This will help him breathe easier.

Encourage Activity

Tell your child that being active is good for him. Let his teachers, coaches and caregivers know he has asthma and make sure they all have a copy of his asthma action plan.

Your child should:

  • Have quick and easy access to asthma medicines at all times.
  • Pre-treat with his quick-relief inhaler with a spacer 15 to 20 minutes before exercise if that is part of his asthma action plan.
  • Warm up and cool down for 10 minutes before and after exercise.
  • Drink plenty of water before and during exercise.

Know the Early Warning Signs

Signs that your child may be having asthma problems:

  • Chest tightness
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty doing most physical activities
  • Trouble breathing
  • Wheezing

Take a Break

Stop activity if you see or your child reports any early warning signs. Signs can last for a few minutes to more than an hour. Sometimes activity may need to be reduced if the signs do not go away.

Reduced activities include:

  • Board games or building with blocks
  • Playing on the swings or teeter-totter
  • Throwing and catching a ball
  • Walking

Let your child stay involved. It may hurt his feelings if he has to sit out while his friends play.

Call 911 if your child:

  • Cannot finish a sentence without stopping to catch his breath.
  • Cannot stop coughing or wheezing.
  • Has blue lips or fingernails.
  • Has sunken skin on the chest and neck.

Learn More About Our Asthma Center

For Professionals: Schedule an appointment