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Asthma and bicycling
Asthma and bicycling
"Do you have any tips for an asthmatic cyclist?"
Yes I do.

On the "Ask GCN anything" forum, the question of asthma a bicycling was raised. Seeing that the GCN staff apparently are not asthmatics, the general response was to see your doctor. Having grown up with asthma whilst I enjoy bicycling, here are my own €0.99:

Learn your limits.

For the major part of primary and lower secondary school, I was told to handle my asthma by taking my medication prior to P.E. - and add on if I did get an attack. What I didn't know at the time was that this set me up to damaging my teeth and also keeping my limits static.

This strategy left me ignorant of my own body. So I was a bit surprised when a physician told me NOT to take my meds during P.E.. His message: Listen to your body. You will know when an attack is on its way. When you feel it, stop exercising.

Expand your limits.

By listening to my body, I could confidently stop exercising right before I would ordinarily get an attack. Further more, I found that as I exercised regularly, the limit would actually move while my need for regular medication was greatly reduced until I gave it up completely. I now only have emergency medication in case I get an allergy induced attack.

Take it easy on long trips.

It should go without saying, but on long trips you get further by not exhausting yourself on the first stretch.

By keeping your effort right below the limit that will give you an attack - by slowing down when you feel one is coming - you can go on cycling the entire day. This was my strategy for my bicycle trip from Paris to Amsterdam, and this will also be my strategy for bicycling Milano-Taranto in 2017.

What if this doesn't help you?

Well, this is just my experience, and others will be able to relate to it. Others will not be helped by this tip, as their medical condition is different. And that's just the way it is.

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