Asthma is a respiratory disorder which is characterized by constriction of the muscles of the trachea (the wind pipe) and the bronchi which transmit air into the different parts of the lungs. Asthma is an autoimmune disorder, wherein, the body’s immune system over-reacts to a particular allergen and results in sudden and temporary constriction, resulting in breathing difficulty.
Estimates suggest that Asthma is one of the most common respiratory ailments which affects children, but is also found in older individuals. Some experts suggest that exercise can induce asthma and the condition affects over 85% of all asthmatic children. This form of asthma is triggered by an exercise of 4 minutes or longer, but spontaneously disappears within 20 minutes. Over 15 years of research has been unable to explain which exercise induces asthma.
While physical exercise may trigger an episode of asthma, deep breathing exercises have been found to be extensive useful. Yoga, meditation and other exercises have had a phenomenal potential of alleviating the symptoms of asthma and at time even curing the disease.
How Does Breathing Exercises Help In Asthma?
In general all individual benefit from exercise and a good physical training program, suitable to an individual’s medical condition can reap profound health benefits. Here are some advantages of breathing exercise on the treatment and management of asthma,
- Regular exercise helps manage deficiencies in muscle posture and development which in turn reduce the frequency and severity of asthmatic attacks.
- Exercise helps improve general physical ability which increases self-consciousness and creates a sense of well being. This in turn improves brain functioning and thereby helps regulate asthma.
- Exercise also helps enhance natural immunity and deal with recurrent episodes of asthma. Further, exercise increases stamina and endurance improving the condition of asthmatic patients.
Experts suggest that exercising for shorter durations of time (i.e. one to two minutes) can improve breathing and reduce airway obstruction. However prolonged exercise (i.e. more than five minutes) can lead to increased airway obstruction and aggravate symptoms in patients with exercise induced asthma.
How To Do Breathing Exercises For Asthma?
Deep breathing exercises have profound benefit in management of the most severe forms of asthma. Asthmatics usually develop faulty breathing patterns which are characterized by reduced mobility of the lower chest region and higher strain on the upper chest muscles.
Exercise techniques should focus on training abdominal muscles and the diaphragm to work during the breathing process, in order to alleviate some of the symptoms. Here is an exercise regimen which might be useful in treating asthma,
- Sit up upright in your chair, so that your arms hang freely on either side of your chest.
- Now gradually inhale. Continue to breathe for a few seconds till you feel your lungs full of air.
- Hold this position for a couple of seconds.
- Now gradually exhale. Note that the speed at which you breathe in and out is very important. Ideally one should exhale in half the time it takes to inhale (i.e. if it takes you six seconds to inhale, it should take about three seconds to exhale).
- Hold your position for a couple of seconds before starting to inhale.
You will notice that over a period of time your ability to retain a breath will improve. This exercise activates the air spaces within the lung cavity which are usually not used during regular breathing.