Respiratory Disease

Having any kind or respiratory disease can be very unpleasant. Not being able to breathe properly, or the fear of not being able to breathe can put people off exercising. However you really shouldn’t allow this fear to stop you, being more active will help. There are lots of famous athletes with asthma, if they can do it so can you.

There is more information on how being active helps with this condition on the British Lung Foundation website.


Asthma is a common long-term condition that can cause a cough, wheezing, and breathlessness. The severity varies from person to person. Most people find that their asthma can be controlled most of the time.

Being more active doesn’t actually improve asthma, but it does improve fitness, which means your lungs don’t have to work as hard.

Many asthmatics find exercise can make their symptoms worse. Generally dry dusty conditions are worse, warm humid environments are better. The best way to avoid problems is to take your medication before you exercise, and make sure you include a good warm up and cool down session.

If you are new to exercise and have asthma, walking and swimming are a great place to start.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the name for a collection of lung diseases including chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive airways disease.

People with COPD have difficulties breathing, primarily due to the narrowing of their airways. Because of this, exercise can be the last thing you feel like doing as it can be frightening if you struggle to breathe. Despite this it is really important to stay active if you have COPD – if you become too sedentary (ie don’t move around much) your fitness will decline, as will your body’s strength and that will make the symptoms of COPD worse.

People with COPD who do exercise regularly find that their breathing is easier as they get fitter and build up more muscle. They also feel less tired and have a generally better quality of life. They also have less hospital admissions and live longer, which has to be a good thing.