Asthma and Exercise

asthma consultant sydney

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic (long-term) lung condition involving an inflammatory disorder of the airways, where the airways narrow, disrupting airflow and causing symptoms such as breathlessness, wheezing, coughing and tightness in the chest.


Airway narrowing during asthma flare-ups is caused by a reaction to certain triggers, which then cause either the lining of the airways to swell, increased mucous production or tightening of the muscles around the airways. This obstruction can be reversed immediately and also with long-term treatment, and an appropriate daily management plan is important for all people with asthma.


Who Gets Asthma?

Asthma currently affects at least 1 in 10 Australians – that’s 2 million people. While most people with asthma are aged under 15 years, you would be surprised to know that many elite athletes also suffer from this condition. In some people with asthma, it can cause frequent hospitalisations and difficulty with performing daily activities such as walking and cleaning.

How does Exercise Help Asthma?

One of the many triggers for asthma is physical exertion or exercise, which is the main reason that people with asthma tend to limit physical activity. However, regular exercise improves aerobic fitness which reduces the body’s requirement for oxygen at a given level of physical effort. This improves your breathing during exercise, makes being physically active easier, and reduces the chance of an exercise-induced asthma attack. Improved asthma control can also reduce the amount of daily medication required.

Exercise Physiology of Asthma How can an Accredited Exercise Physiologist Help?

An Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) is a university qualified professional specialising in clinical exercise delivery for people with chronic diseases and injuries, including those at high risk such as people with asthma. In your consultations, the Exercise Physiologist will conduct an assessment to identify important information for your asthma management, including your current fitness level, physical abilities and health status. They will deliver education and guidance about exercise and asthma and provide you with a safe individualised exercise program to help you achieve your personal exercise and health goals. Ongoing assessments ensure that as you improve, your exercise program will progress so that you achieve optimal physical function and health.

Our Exercise Physiologist, Robynne, is available for appointments in the Physico City Physio clinic, Sydney CBD to discus the suitability of exercise to help manage your asthma

Further Information:

Exercise & Sport Science Australia


National Asthma Council of Australia

National Asthma Council of Australia  – Asthma Management Handbook 


Asthma Foundation
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare – Asthma