Shortness of breath when you exercise is far from fun – it’s your body’s natural (and effective) way of sending you a message. If you’ve just started working out, it’s natural that your body is struggling as it isn’t used to that kind of stress and exertion. Still, that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to deal with it: you’re trying to work out and if you’re having trouble breathing, it will certainly make it more difficult. If you often experience shortness of breath while exercising, here’s what you should do:
Notice the signs
If you don’t pay attention to your body and suddenly realize that you’re breathing in rapid, shallow breaths, you might start panicking. Your body is craving oxygen because you’re working harder than before, and you’re breathing rapidly to get that oxygen and help your body function normally again. Understand that feeling a bit light-headed and experiencing tightness in your chest are common symptoms and don’t panic. This happens because you need more oxygen and it will get better when you calm down. Feeling a bit dizzy and light-headed is common; you don’t have to call it a day and go home just yet. The first step is noticing the signs and recognizing them; it will help you feel in control.
Don’t overdo it
When you first start working out after a long break, you’ll want to do your best and work as much as possible in order to get the best results soon. Still, as admirable as new enthusiasm can be, it can also have bad consequences. You don’t want to overdo exercise when you first start with a new routine or you’ll end up not only short of breath but completely drained of energy. Your body should adjust slowly to new regime and routine, which is why you should be patient and take baby steps. Working too hard too soon will put additional stress on your lungs and increase your heart rate. By slowly increasing duration of exercise and exertion, you are also increasing aerobic benefits and your stamina too.
Underlying medical causes
On the other hand, while it’s normal to run out of breath when you’re exercising, you should be careful because you might have an underlying medical condition. Some serious medical conditions such as heart disease, asthma, or a pulmonary disease can make you feel short of breath when you’re working out too. You might think that it’s just vigorous exercise, but it could be something more serious and much more dangerous. If you notice that you have difficulty breathing even when you walk for a while or climb up the steps, you might want to consult a doctor.
A common culprit for shortness of breath when working out, walking, or riding a bike is asthma. You can be born with this condition or you can develop it over time, and physical exertion can act as a trigger. If exercise is your only trigger, you can easily deal with your condition (exercise-induced asthma). Your airways can swell and get narrower which can cause difficulty breathing and getting enough oxygen into the lungs.All you need to do is take some medication before you start working out or even during your workout sessions if need be and you will prevent shortness of breath. Bronchodilators can open your airwaves even after you already run out of breath so they’re always handy to have.
Talk to doctors
You should talk to your doctor about the type of exercise you intend to do and see if they agree with the regime. They might suggest you make some changes and it’s best to listen to their advice because that way you will get the results better. It’s possible that your shortness of breath comes from the fact that you have a deviated septum. If this is the case, a simple rhinoplasty procedure will help you breathe without difficulty. No matter what, it’s important to consult your physician if you notice that your breathing problems aren’t going away.
Make healthy choices
First things first: if you’re trying to get healthy and work out more, you should definitely stop smoking. Smoking is one of the main reasons for shortness of breath in people because it decreases the function of the lungs. This means that you’re more likely to run out of breath and feel like you’re suffocating if you smoke. You should also try spending more time breathing fresh air, as it will greatly improve your health and the capacity of your lungs.
Take it slow
Every beginning is difficult, but if your approach is right, you will be able to endure and overcome the difficulties in time. It’s important to take things slow and gradually make your workouts more difficult. The simplest way to start is to walk several times a week for half an hour, it will help you prepare for more demanding tasks. The following week increase your speed and distance a bit and keep doing it until you notice that you can walk longer and faster. This is when you should add other exercises to your routine: a bit of strength training as well as stretching and low-impact aerobics. You will still run out of breath from time to time, but your lungs will be better adapted.
Shortness of breath during exercise is common and you shouldn’t be too worried about it, especially if you’re trying new exercises which are more strenuous and difficult. Extreme temperatures, as well as poor physical condition, can also contribute to shortness of breath, but if you’re experiencing it often and it’s getting worse, it might be a sign of an underlying medical condition. Before you start working out, make sure to see your doctor and see if you’re healthy enough for vigorous exercise.