Asthmatic Children Can Benefit From Sports
Sports play a huge role in the lives of many children, including those with asthma. As I dropped off my two asthma chicks at basketball camp this morning, negotiating sports with asthma was at the forefront of my mind. I thought I would share a few things we have learned about asthma and sports over the years.
Kids with asthma can be active.
The old theory that children with asthma should avoid activity has long been disproved. Keeping active helps kids with asthma maintain a healthy weight, keeps them fit, and can even strengthen their lungs. As long as you have your pediatrician's approval and your child's asthma is under control sports can be a great addition to their lives.
You can find ways to be active that avoid triggers.
You may have to find creative ways to keep your asthmatic active but it can be done safely in most instances. For example, our girls have allergies that trigger their attacks so indoor sports like basketball can be easier on their asthma than an outdoor soccer game. If your child has exercise induced asthma talk with your physician before starting any new activity. They may be able to participate after being premeditated with a quick acting inhaler.
Sports have emotional and social benefits too
Kids with asthma may constantly feel singled out or deal with self-esteem issues because they feel different from their peers. Participating in sports gives them a sense of normalcy, camaraderie and can help foster positive peer relationships. In fact, studies show that children who play sports have higher grades, greater connections with school, higher self-esteem and are less likely to participate in risky behaviors.
We can't keep our asthmatic children in a bubble (as much as we might like to)! I know that it can be scary to allow your asthmatic child additional freedom to try new activities. Making sure their asthma is under control, teaching them to recognize the signs of breathing issues quickly, and teaching them to use their rescue medication when needed can help to alleviate some of your fears.
Providing these safe ways to participate in sports can be life changing for you and for your child.
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Jennifer has a bachelor's degree in dietetics as well as graduate work in public health and nutrition.She has worked with families dealing with digestive disease, asthma and food allergies for the past 12 years.Jennifer also serves the Board of Directors for Pediatric Adolescent Gastroesophageal Reflux Association (PAGER).