Exercise and Asthma

Range of Motion offers Exercise Physiologist designed one-on-one exercise sessions for individuals with this condition. Book a complimentary consultation or contact us to find out more.

The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.

Based on guidelines provided by the American College of Sports Medicine.

Condition Overview:

Asthma is characterised by a reversible and short term obstruction of the airways as a result of environmental and allergic factors.

The range of degrees of asthma is considerable, with mild asthma only occurring as a response to exercise or environment based factors. Severe asthma is less reversible in nature and can severely impair physical function.

Classifications can be made into the following levels of severity:

  • Exercise induced asthma with no other symptoms.
  • Mild asthma, not limiting submaximal exercise.
  • Severe asthma, limiting submaximal exercise.

Exercise induced asthma is often brought about with longer bouts of exercise, or five to 15 minutes following a shorter bout of exercise.

Short Term Response to Exercise:

At lower intensities (below 75% predicted maximal heart rate), exercise induced asthma is often not symptomatic. The client is able to exercise as normal with no limitations. At a higher intensity, or with a more severe grade of asthma, restrictions to airflow make breathing difficult, often to the point of requiring a cessation of exercise.

Long Term Response to Exercise:

Due to the asymptomatic nature of milder forms of asthma, an individual with the condition can often experience the full benefits of exercise. More severe forms see relatively diminished levels of physical improvement.

Benefits to the condition include:

  • Improved exercise tolerance.
  • Cardiovascular reconditioning.
  • Improved efficiency of the ventilatory process.
  • Increased muscle strength (ventilatory and general).

Condition Management:

In addition to exercise, inhaled medications as prescribed by a medical professional are effective in managing asthma. These will often take the form of a puffer or inhaler.

Clark, C. J., (2003). Asthma. In: Durstine, J. L., Moore, G. E. (2003), ACSM’s Exercise Management for Persons with Chronic Diseases and Disabilities 2nd Ed. (pp 105-110) American College of Sports Medicine, Human Kinetics

Dan Williams

Dan Williams


Dan Williams is the Director of Range of Motion and leads a team of Exercise Physiologists, Sports Scientists, Physiotherapists and Coaches. He has a Bachelor of Science (Exercise and Health Science) and a Postgraduate Bachelor of Exercise Rehabilitation Science from The University of Western Australia, with minors in Biomechanics and Sport Psychology.

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