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WELSH ACADEMY OF MARTIAL ARTS - BARRY YMCA
ASTHMA AND KICKBOXING
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"Am I able to take Part in Martial Arts if
I have Asthma"
The Answer is YES!

 
Years ago if you had asthma you were told not to over exert yourself with exercise, but nowadays exercise is encouraged. Certain guidelines have to be followed if you have asthma to be able to exercise and reduce the incidence of attacks and to enjoy the sport of kickboxing to it's fullest.

My son Rhydian is an asthmatic. At times he has found exercise difficult as it exacerbates his condition.  He makes sure he takes his medication he is prescribed daily as well as the medication he needs to control the odd flare up. Kickboxing is very strenuous so if you are an asthmatic, you need to pay attention to your medication and take precautions to prevent exercise-induced attacks.

What is asthma?

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory lung disease characterized by recurrent breathing problems. Asthmatics can have acute episodes where the air passages in their lungs narrow and make breathing very difficult.

What causes asthma?

Unfortunately the exact cause of asthma is unknown. Asthma is attributed to certain triggers such as smog, smoke, allergens, animals, cold, exercise, stress, irritants, pollen, dust, some food additives and preservatives. This list is not complete by any means.

Can asthma be cured?

No, but it can be controlled with proper treatment. The treatment is generally preventative in nature. Your physician may prescribe a drug you take on a daily basis to reduce the inflammatory response along with a bronchodilator to use in the case of a flare up. You can be very involved in your treatment by helping to identify triggers that set off attacks and avoiding them if possible.

Should exercise be avoided?

No, not necessarily. By taking control of your condition and taking the proper medication there is no reason why you can't indulge and enjoy kickboxing or any physical activity. There are some activities that are more likely to cause an attack than others; basically anything aerobic in nature. There are some activities that are more aggravating than others, such as running, aerobics, cross country skiing, and some martial arts. This does not mean you can't participate or enjoy any of these activities, it just means you have to be more careful and prepared.

What can start an attack during exercise?

During strenuous aerobic exercise, your rate of respiration or breathing increases quite a bit. This increase in breath rate will cause you to breath through your mouth. The air that reaches your bronchial tubes and lungs has not passed through the nose where the air is moistened and warmed, so this cooler or even cold air can trigger an attack. Sometimes my asthma symptoms can begin about 10 minutes into my class. Sometimes I have had symptoms 20 minutes into my class. This depends on the starting intensity and the increase in intensity as the class progresses. Let your instructor know that you are an asthmatic and may need to use medication in class. Don't be afraid to tell your instructor that you need to stop for a short while to prevent an attack from getting out of control.

How to help prevent an attack.


Often using your brochodilatory medication before a strenuous class will ward off an attack. Kickboxing is 99% indoors so you shouldn't have too many problems with cold air. If the air in the room you are working out in is cool, breathe through your nose or wear a mask to warm the air. If that is not appropriate for you, then the next most important step is a good gradual warm up. The warm up is to gradually raise your respiration rate and get the body used to the extra oxygen demand. If the pace in class is too fast for you and you feel that you may be at risk, then slow down and breath through your nose. Relax as much as you can as tension will only worsen the problem. Last but not least, those of you that have inhalers should have it close by. I know I do. I don't often have to use it but the knowledge that it's there is some what comforting.

Symptoms of an asthma attack.


Asthma is not a condition to be taken lightly. It can be fatal if left untreated or ignored. Here are a list of symptoms that you need to be aware of:

1. Increased difficulty with inhalation and exhalation
2. Coughing
3. Chest tightness
4. Audible wheeze
5. Increased heart rate
6. Nostril flaring
7. Difficulty with talking
8. Bluish tinge to lips
9. Taut skin around the neck and ribs due to the exertion of breathing

Treatment


For the most part, you as the asthmatic will already have a medication regime in progress. If you feel an attack coming on, then take whatever inhalant you are prescribed. Stop the offending activity until symptoms subside. If you want to complete the activity or class, do so but at a reduced level so as not to aggravate an already shaky situation. If the symptoms do not clear completely, then you should not continue with the activity or class. If the symptoms can not be relieved with cessation of activity and medication, the emergency room is the next stop. Remember &..asthma can be fatal.

Asthma and Exercise Induced Asthma [ E.I.A ] &.what is the difference?
In actuality, nothing much. E.I.A. symptoms are symptoms that only occur when exercising. Most general asthmatics have E.I.A. There are some of you that exhibit no other symptoms of asthma unless you are exercising. You would be classed as an asthmatic regardless. If you have E.I.A. you need to be just as aware of the symptoms and what to do about them. If you are prescribed medication, take it with you when you exercise and use it if you have to. Pretending you don't have a problem is ignorant and above all dangerous. Don't let the symptoms get out of hand. Deal with them at an early stage.

If you have asthma there is no reason you can't train as hard as anybody else. You just have to be prepared and sensible.