People with a BMI of 30 or more have a much higher risk of asthma than those with a lower BMI, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This may be because most people carry their extra weight in the belly or midsection, which can reduce lung volume and make it harder to breathe, says Dr. Tsai. Even losing 10 pounds can make a huge difference in asthma symptoms, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, Allergies, and Immunology.
Bonus—when you weigh less you may find it easier to exercise. And according to an asthma study published in the BMJ, people who worked out had better control of their symptoms than those who didn’t. Since exercise can worsen symptoms for some asthmatics, pick activities that intersperse short bursts of energy (volleyball, gymnastics, racquet sports) with periods of relative rest, since these are less likely to cause asthma symptoms than workouts that demand you stay on the go.