One of the many decisions parents with asthmatic kids need to make is whether or not to let their children play sports – or do any other activity that might cause them to overexert themselves and trigger an asthma attack. However, most experts agree that, provided precautions are taken, there is no reason why asthmatic kids cannot enjoy sports in school.
Why Sports (and Physical Activity in General) is Good for Asthma
Many parents will be relieved to know that as long as kids don't overdo it, playing sports and being physically active in general can actually help with day-to-day management of this condition. The Asthma Initiative of Michigan (AIM) notes that regular exercise can help increase lung capacity and energy levels. These, in turn, can make it more likely that a child will exercise. In short, the cycle of good asthma management and increased activity can feed on each other, one improving with the other.
Also, according to Health Central, regular exercise can also keep a child's weight to healthy levels. They note that the link between obesity and asthma management is proven, and sports can be a great way to prevent adding on those extra pounds.
What Sports are Best for Asthmatic Kids
Another thing for parents to keep in mind is not all sports are created equal – some are a much better choice for kids who have asthma. KidsHealth notes that sports which alternate between activity and rest are a good choice. These can include sports like golf, football, and baseball as well as activities like yoga and martial arts.
On the other hand, sports which require sustained activities – such as cross-country running – and those that take place in dry, cold air – such as skiing, ice skating, or ice hockey – might be more difficult. However, if a child's asthma is under good control, even these sports are possible.
What Precautions to Take
Even when your child is in the right sport and his/her asthma is well-managed, there are some precautions you can take to make sure their experience with sports is even better. KidsHealth notes that covering up the nose and mouth with a scarf if your child is outside in the cold weather, taking adequate time to warm up and cool down, and avoiding outside play during times when the pollen count is high are all important.
AIM recommends keeping an asthma, with your child, about their exercise schedule, when they've taken their meds, what exercises makes them feel better or worse, and other pertinent information.
In short, while kids with asthma have to take some precautions, there is no reason why they cannot have a fun and fulfilling time playing sports or participating in other physical activities. This can not only increase self-esteem and encourage an active lifestyle, it can actually help manage asthma by increasing lung capacity and function.