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22 Dec 2004

Exercise-induced brochiospasm (EIB) and getting aerobically fit
I get exercise-induced Bronchiospasm every time I start doing aerobic exercises. Any suggestions on how to get over this?
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Expert
FitnessDoc
fitnessdoc

01 Jan 0001

Hi Othello

It depends on the cause - there is an extremely common medical condition called EIA - exercise induced asthma, which affects between 6 and 15% of the population, which is a really high percentage. This condition can only really be diagnosed by going for a lung function test, where they test your ability to exhale and inhale during exercise. I know plenty of people who have thought they had this condition when they started out with their exercise training, only to discover later on that they were just unfit, so it can be hard to figure out!

Medically, there are aerosols that you can use to stop this bronchospasm - they are called beta- agonists, and what they do is cause bronchodilation. A lot of sportspeople (like our own Roland Schoeman, who is asthmatic) use these and are able to compete at the highest level. I'm not a doctor and so I am not entirely sure what the process is to get this type of pump/ventilator, but I would imagine it requires a doctor's prescription. These pumps are then used just before exercise and they work very well to prevent any constriction. The important thing is that you don't use them unless you are really needing them - they are banned in competition, and even though you may not be competing, there is a reason they are banned, and it's because many contain substances that can have some nasty side effects if misused. Therefore, be sure that you will need them before using.

Finally, the other thing that really helps is to avoid exercise when it's really cold and dry (both of which cause bronchoconstriction) and also warmup very gradually. There is nothing worse than just jumping right into training - suddenly you have this massive increase in air flow and this causes constriction too, so if you warm up very gradually, you can prevent this.

Good luck
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