Playing team sports that improve coordination and encourage cooperation is a fun part of being a kid. Physical exercise also promotes health and wellness. But what about kids with asthma? If your child has this health condition, rest assured they don’t have to miss out. In fact, a strategic amount of physical activity can strengthen your child’s breathing muscles to help their lungs work better.
The trick is to choose an activity that doesn’t aggravate your child’s condition. Here are the steps parents should take when looking for an asthma-friendly sport.
If your child has an underlying health condition like asthma, the first step is to have a talk with their doctor. This accomplishes two goals. First, they can recommend an appropriate amount of physical activity based on your child’s health status. This prevents you or your child from developing unrealistic expectations about their athletic participation. Second, it may open the door to treatment options that could expand your child’s choices.
By understanding what’s likely to trigger an attack, you can help your child take appropriate precautions. For instance, cold air is taxing, even on healthy lungs, so winter sports like ice skating, hockey, skiing, and snowboarding may be difficult for a child with exercise-induced asthma. Endurance sports that demand a lot of energy with little rest—including track and field, soccer, lacrosse, and basketball—may also be challenging. Even swimming should be approached with caution.
Physical activity isn’t the only thing that triggers asthma attacks. High or low humidity, pollen, mold, dust, pollution, fragrances, and other environmental factors can also cause breathing difficulties.
Several sports are suitable for kids with asthma, and each offers plenty of benefits. These include:
If your child has their heart set on a sport that isn’t on this list, don’t immediately rule it out. Discuss options with your child’s pediatrician and explain the situation to their coach. For instance, you could request that your child play the goalie position on a soccer or field hockey team. You might also find a league with less intensive play.
Whatever sport your child chooses, follow these tips to help manage their asthma:
i9 Sports®® provides youth athletic programs in hundreds of communities across the United States. We pride ourselves on our diverse sports offerings for kids of all ages, genders, abilities, and skill levels. Each program is designed to help kids learn a new sport, develop skills, and, most importantly, have fun!
Many of our leagues offer the asthma-friendly sports outlined above. Contact your local i9 Sports® office to learn more.