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For Parents: Encouraging Exercise for Your Child with Asthma

Your child needs exercise to be healthy and fit. So don’t let fear of an asthma flare-up keep your child from being active. Many professional and Olympic athletes have asthma. They are able to perform because their asthma is in control. The same is true for your child.

Man and boy outside playing soccer.

What Kind of Exercise?

Kids with asthma can play baseball, basketball, soccer, or football. They can swim, run cross-country, or do gymnastics. In fact, a child with asthma can do any sport you can name. If exercise has led to asthma flare-ups in the past, you may worry. But when asthma is in good control, your child will be able to exercise without fear of a flare-up.

Making Exercise Safer

  • Your child’s health care provider may prescribe taking a dose of quick-relief medication before exercise. Be sure your child carries this medication and knows when and how to take it.

  • Teach your child to warm up for 5–10 minutes before exercise. This reduces the chance of a flare-up.

  • Talk to your child’s gym teacher or coach. Explain when and how your child should take asthma medications. Also explain the importance of warming up. This person should know the symptoms of an asthma flare-up and what to do about it.

  • Your child may need to avoid exercise outside at certain times. Depending on triggers, you may need to watch for high air pollution days, dry and windy days, or days when a lot of pollen is in the air.


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