I’ve had asthma and allergies for about 20 years now. When I first learned that I had asthma, my doctor restricted me from any exercise at all. Nothing was allowed that would cause or increase the probability of an attack. That was hard to do for someone who was used to being outdoors playing, running around, riding bikes, etc. As it turns out I was allergic to everything except for a Holly bush. That lead to allergy shots 3 times a week for 2-3 years.
Once my asthma and allergies were under control I was already in a sedentary pattern that I wanted to break but didn’t know how, plus I had children so it was difficult to get out of my comfort zone.
At my heaviest I weighed 200 pounds, which was about 2 years ago. Even though my asthma was under control and had been for years I let myself slip so slowly into this weight that I never saw it coming until I went to put on my size 18 pants and they didn’t fit. The next size up was “plus size”. That was my wake up call.
I joined the Biggest Loser Club on September 30, 2007 and by January 2008 I had lost 40 pounds. I was doing cardio (elliptical machine) 5 days a week and weight training 2 days a week.
My first attempt at the elliptical machine I lasted for 2 minutes and needed my inhaler. This was different because over the past 10-15 years the only time I needed my inhaler was if I had a cold in my chest. I kept at it and used my inhaler when I needed it.
Then in February 2008 we went for a bike ride at the Greenway in Ocala, which is a paved trail that’s about 6 miles all together I believe. I think I lasted about 15 minutes the first time and needed my inhaler. Somehow bicycling is different than the elliptical machine, at least that’s what my lungs thought.
The next weekend we went to Santos Bike Trails, which are unpaved “mountain”, well as “mountain” as you can get in Florida, trails with rocks, roots, holes, trees, spiders, etc., and it was a blast. Once again, I needed my inhaler after about 15 minutes but it was well worth it. I think it took about 3-4 weeks before I could ride without using my inhaler, and that felt so good, but I still take it with me just in case.
Since I had the allergy shots I don’t really have a lot of problems with them except for when I’m around cats, but you don’t see too many of those on the trails – thank goodness.
I would love to say biking is for everyone and everyone will love it but sometimes that is not the case but don’t let that hold you back from living a healthier, happier lifestyle. Find something you love to do: swimming, walking, running, tennis, etc., and do it. If you are like me and have asthma and/or allergies, make sure you have your medicine / inhaler with you just in case you need it. Your safety and well-being is your first concern. If you are a beginner at whatever form of exercise you choose, don’t push yourself too hard. Start out with 15 or 30 minutes, depending on what you can handle and then add 5-10 minutes every other week.
I often wonder if I’m the only biker out there with asthma. If you have asthma and enjoy bike riding, email me or comment on this post and share your experiences and helpful advise.
Ride, live, have fun!!