Letting kids get into sports is a great way for them to be more active and physically fit. However, for children with asthma, it might be difficult for them to find a sport that won’t trigger an attack. After all, a lot of sports require players to be aggressive and move vigorously, causing them to breathe more quickly through their mouths. This is a problem for children with asthma, as it lets cold and dry air travel into their lungs, which would then cause irritation. This can then lead to the tightening of the muscles in their airways, which increases their chances of experiencing an asthma flare-up.
Let Children with Asthma Play Sports
That’s why sports that require high endurance and energy (e.g., football, basketball, and volleyball), as well as sports played in cold environments (e.g., ice skating and ice hockey), are often a no-no for children with asthma.
Fortunately, there are several sports and activities that are suitable for kids with this chronic respiratory condition. If your child has asthma but wants to get into sports, here are six asthma-friendly sports and activities they could try.
Swimming is an excellent sport for children with asthma because it exercises the muscles that support their respiratory organs. In addition, the natural pressure of the water also helps unblock the sinuses. Swimming also helps kids develop good breathing practices, which helps strengthen their lungs.
To make swimming safer for kids with asthma, it’s recommended to let them swim in a swimming pool rather than the open sea. This is because the sea’s salt water may cause breathing trouble. That being said, you also have to make sure that the amount of chlorine in the swimming pool isn’t excessive, as the chemical may irritate your child’s lungs.
Children with asthma can always enjoy a good bike ride, but they need to stay at a gentle pace to avoid triggering an asthma attack. Activities like rapid biking, uphill biking, and mountain biking require riders to exert a lot of energy and effort, which can lead your child to breathe rapidly and dry out their airways. To make biking safe for your kid, let them ride on a flat surface and bike at a more sedate pace.
Taekwondo, aikido, judo, and arnis are types of martial arts that are usually practiced indoors, so your child with asthma can enjoy them and avoid exposure to outdoor allergens. These martial arts also don’t involve a lot of movement and even teach students breathing exercises that can help lower stress and relieve anxiety. Signing up your child for martial arts is a great way for them to build endurance, increase their confidence, get better coordination, and learn self-defense skills.
Even though players of racket sports, such as tennis and badminton, are always on their toes, they usually expend their energy in short spurts. These sports also give players plenty of rest in between sets, making them the perfect sports for your child with asthma. Between the two, however, badminton might be easier because it’s held indoors. If your child wants to try out tennis, you have to make sure that the tennis court is located in an area that has good outdoor air quality to prevent asthma attacks from occurring.
Volleyball might be a fast-paced sport, but the techniques used to play don’t require a lot of movement. Though your child might be asked to run in short spurts to get to the ball, striking and setting the ball are actually low-intensity activities. With volleyball, your child will get enough exercise to stay fit and also learn the value of being a team player.
Baseball or Softball
Even though baseball and softball are played outdoors, they’re still ideal sports for children with asthma because there is a lot of downtimes. While players will have to run around the bases and swing the bat to hit the ball, most of their time will be spent waiting on the bases or in the dugout. Again, it’s important to check the outdoor air quality of where the baseball or softball field is located to ensure that your child will be exposed to minimum amounts of allergens.
Getting into a sport is a great way for children to get physical activity, stay in good shape, and meet new friends. Unfortunately, for kids with asthma, finding a sport that won’t trigger their flare-ups can be quite tricky. This doesn’t mean, however, that they’re not allowed to try any sport because there are many—like the ones in this list—that is safe and friendly for kids with asthma.
If there is a sport your child with asthma is interested in trying but is not on the list, don’t immediately rule it out. You can consult with your child’s pediatrician first to see whether or not the sport is safe for your child or could be modified to be more asthma-friendly.