Working Out With Asthma

by Admin on November 3, 2015

We asked guest writer and fellow Boot Camp participant, Rachel Dupuis, to share her experiences of working out with fitness induced asthma.

I love working out. In the last 7 months I have come to crave outdoor activity and high intensity exercise. Boot camp has been life changing for me. I am more fit, happier, and healthier than I ever have been. That being said if you come to Boot camp at IFCC during the 8:30 class you will most definitely hear me wheezing, hacking, and panting my way through class. 

I was diagnosed with asthma as a child. I never liked being too physical or active. My chest hurt and I used it as a crutch. I couldn’t run the dreaded mile without coughing. I would just walk it and be content in my mediocrity. I struggled with my weight even as a child. In my 20’s I would go through phases of working out and give an attempt at being healthy. I don’t remember ever needing my inhaler during these failed attempts. That is probably due to me not actually pushing myself to the level of needing it. I went about not really noticing any major asthma symptoms.

We moved to Hawaii in April 2014 and soon after I started feeling symptoms of my asthma. I made an appointment to be checked out and that is where I learned of the dreaded VOG. Vog is smog or haze containing volcanic dust and gases. All I knew is my chest hurt and I was wheezing constantly. I was prescribed an Albuterol inhaler and went about my day to day.

I began boot camp classes with Dumbell Fitness in March 2015. I had been working out some on my own in Hawaii for the past year. I would use my inhaler as needed. I wasn’t getting real results and I was ready for that kick in the butt physical work out. I wanted to drop some pounds and feel better about myself. My first workout I was near death. I had talked to Jesus and thought; I just might be meeting him today. I used my inhaler several times during a workout. I felt like my head and my lungs were on two different pages. Mentally I needed this class. I knew I would flourish with some drive and friendly competition. Physically it hurt. It would hurt so much I would be scared. I didn’t want to have a episode and really embarrass myself. The coughing and hacking were embarrassing enough. I experienced two or three real deal Holyfield asthma attacks as a child and I most certainly wasn’t up for that to be repeated. Unfortunately it did. It was at the end of a class and during the end of class we tend to finish on a high note. That high note typically involves cardio. Cardio isn’t really my friend. I don’t loathe it but I am absolutely not looking forward to it. Again this is a mind over matter situation. Cardio hurts. Every time it hurts. My lungs feel so small and I can feel this layer of mucus over come my chest. After class I ran to my car and was disoriented. I was in a coughing fit. Very little air was making its way to my already compromised lungs. Thank God for friends who found my inhaler and rescued me. I appreciated the rescue mission with all my heart and lungs but I felt incredibly embarrassed. I knew I had to take control of this as it was not stopping me from my goals. 

I did some research on dealing with asthma and ways to improve symptoms. I use my inhaler before I work out. I let that sweet Albuterol marinate in my lungs and can tell a difference. I started using essential oils that are shown to improve asthma symptoms. I thoroughly enjoy those and absolutely feel a difference on the days I actually remember to oil up. Others around me were so supportive and encouraging during workouts. I don’t know why I felt so embarrassed. It felt better to just say, “Yes I am struggling. It is just asthma. I am ok. Thank you.” I remembered some breathing exercises to calm my breath rate and heart rate for that matter. I can talk myself down from it going too far. I realized it was ok to push myself through the pain and that it was also ok for me to take a minute to just breathe. I believe so much in the power of positivity and being able to calm oneself in any stressful situation.

 I am overjoyed with the results from Dumbell Fitness, both mentally and physically.

 Is it hard? Absolutely. Did I die? Nope. I sure didn’t.

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