Wheezing - exercise-induced; Reactive airway disease - exercise; Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction
Sometimes exercise triggers asthma symptoms. This is called exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB). In the past this was a called exercise-induced asthma. Exercise does not cause asthma, but it can cause airways to constrict (narrow). Most people with asthma have EIB, but not everyone with EIB has asthma.
The symptoms of EIB are coughing, wheezing, a feeling of tightness in your chest, or shortness of breath. Most times, these symptoms start soon after you stop exercising. Some people may have symptoms after they start exercising.
Having asthma symptoms when you exercise does not mean you cannot or should not exercise. But be aware of your EIB triggers.
Cold or dry air may trigger asthma symptoms. If you do exercise in cold or dry air:
Do not exercise when the air is polluted. Avoid exercising near fields or lawns that have just been mowed.
Warm up before you exercise, and cool down afterward:
Some kinds of exercise may be less likely to trigger asthma symptoms than others.
Activities that keep you moving fast all the time are more likely to trigger asthma symptoms, such as running, basketball, or soccer.
Take your short-acting, or quick-relief, inhaled medicines before you exercise.
Long-acting, inhaled medicines may also help.
Follow your health care provider's advice on which medicines to use and when.
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National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Asthma Management Guidelines: Focused Updates 2020. www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/asthma-management-guidelines-2020-updates. Updated February 4, 2021. Accessed April 25, 2022.
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Weiler JM, Brannan JD, Randolph CC, et al. Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction update - 2016. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2016;138(5):1292-1295.e36. PMID: 27665489 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27665489/.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 1/8/2022
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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