Asthma is a condition affecting a lot of people worldwide. However, it isn’t reason enough to stop exercising or to give up on the things that interest you.
Many people believe that practicing parkour with asthma is impossible, but they are wrong. Not only will parkour make your body strong enough to deal with the condition, but it will help you overcome the mental aspects of the disease. Parkour is a great way to train your lungs to better handle the triggers and asthma attacks.
Overcoming obstacles in the best way possible is the idea behind parkour, so practicing it with asthma is a great way to unite the conditioning of both the mind and the body.
Almost everyone can parkour, and even if you can’t, you should practice the basic principles in order to make your life easier and yourself more limber and healthy.
Disclaimer: Asthma is a serious condition that varies from individual to individual, do not attempt any sports activities before consulting with your doctor about your specific situation.
Table of Contents
The Physical Aspect of Doing Parkour With Asthma
Before you expose yourself to any arduous physical activity make sure you understand how asthma affects your body.
Namely, the trigger particles in the air get into your breathing pathways and make the alveolar channels in your lungs swell. Alveolar channels are small pathways that the air takes in your lungs. The more swollen they are, the more difficult it will be for the air to get through.
You will experience this as an asthma attack, with all of the accompanying symptoms – difficulty breathing, a feeling of being partially submerged in water, not getting enough air, or breathing through grit and smoke.
Needless to say, these aren’t the prettiest of feelings.
Asthma is tricky because not all people have the same triggers and not all people react to the same triggers in the same way.
Does this mean that you won’t be able to do parkour? Absolutely not!
Not only is parkour an amazing way to train your mind and body, but it is also proven to have a positive effect on asthma. Namely, all exercises with short and intense bursts of activity are excellent in training your lungs to better handle the triggers and asthma attacks.
Choose the Location Carefully
Dealing with asthma while practicing any sport is not an easy task. It can be even more difficult when doing parkour because an asthma attack in the middle of a parkour movement can lead to serious injury.
However, nothing worthwhile in life is supposed to be easy, and if you’re set on practicing parkour there are ways to make your training safer and less arduous.
First off, you’ll want to practice high parkour jumps in specific conditions which will progress as you go.
When you’re starting, make sure you are in a more or less clean environment.
A well-ventilated gym is a perfect place to begin. There will be fewer triggers and you’ll get a chance to train your body for what’s to come.
Should You Stick to Closed Spaces?
Unfortunately, parkour is not meant to be done solely in closed spaces, so you’ll have to transition outside at some point. It is crucial that you make the progression slowly and step by step.
After you’ve conditioned your body and got a few basic movements down, try them out in the open. At first, practice outside only once or twice a week and not over 30 minutes.
Finally, you’ll even be able to expose yourself to your triggers when training. However, this is the endgame and should not be attempted without consulting a doctor first.
Give your body time and opportunity to recover from the triggers and irritants.
After that, slowly increase the time you spent practicing outside in the open, as well as the number of times a week you practice outside the gym.
Get a Spotter to Speed up Progress and Increase Your Safety
A great way to speed up your progress and increase the safety of your training is to practice parkour with someone.
Even though it would be preferable if they had some experience in parkour, the person doesn’t have to be a traceur. Actually, they don’t have to be well-versed in any physical activity as long as they are eager to help you if something bad happens, and they don’t mind watching you train.
Having someone else with you will drastically increase your safety when both learning new tricks and practicing the ones you already know. In addition to this, you will feel much safer if there was someone that could help you should you have an asthma attack during tracing.
Make sure you inform the person training with you about your condition and what they should do if you have an attack.
You should not feel shy or ashamed of sharing this information with the person training with you. The more knowledge they have, the more likely they are to help you if you have an attack during training.
Finally, make sure the person with you is responsible and trustworthy. Even though having an asthma attack isn’t as serious as suffering a concussion or laceration, you’ll still want someone you can count on by your side should things take a turn for worse.
The Psychological Aspect
Asthma would be much easier to overcome if it only presented physical challenges to people suffering from the condition. Unfortunately, it is not so simple.
Many people suffering from asthma feel singled out or the center of attention in a negative way. This feeling usually intensifies when you’re suffering an asthma attack as you feel everyone looking at you. Unfortunately, this can make the attack itself much worse.
In addition to this, parkour is hard and you will fail a lot before succeeding.
Almost every aspiring traceur is self-conscious when training for this reason or that, so you don’t have to worry about that. There will probably be a lot of people who are having difficulties with practicing their moves in your local skate park or jungle gym.
Overcoming the Psychological Barrier
Overcoming the psychological burden you could feel when practicing is not easy and it will require you to adapt to a new way of thinking, the parkour way,
The first thing you’ll have to do is realize that everyone had to start somewhere. No one was born with the ability to trace perfectly, and even David Belle had to acquire his skills through training.
For some, the training is easier than for others, but such is the case with all things in life, and you should not allow it to affect you or your dedication.
What you should do is focus on practicing your technique and conditioning your body to take the strain of training.
Some people overcome shyness by practicing in a team or a group. This is not just safer, but you can get good advice to improve your training as well as some emotional support when the going gets tough.
Finally, the whole philosophy of parkour is about overcoming obstacles. Once you adopt that mentality, every second of your training will be a step forward, because you will be actively overcoming your condition every single day.
What Should You Keep in Mind if You Want to Do Parkour and Have Asthma?
The fact that parkour will help you overcome some of the aspects of asthma doesn’t mean you should neglect your therapy. Before practicing any sport, make sure you:
- Talk to your doctor
- Have your inhaler close by
- Take your preventive therapy
- Don’t risk unnecessary irritation to the lungs
Progressions and Variations – Don’t Start Maxing Out Right Away
Before attempting any sort of physical training you should know that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Conditioning both your body and mind takes time, effort, and dedication. Do not expect to do flips or jump from heights immediately.
Likewise, do not expect your training to go smoothly. Your condition should never stop you, but it will definitely make some things more difficult.
If you have a lot of problems progressing, make sure you integrate other types of exercise in your training – swimming, hiking, yoga, and focus on all aspects of physical health and endurance:
- Endurance (cardio)
- Strength (muscles)
- Mobility (joints)
- Elasticity (stretching)
Know Yourself and Your Condition
The most important thing about practicing parkour with asthma is knowing your limits and knowing your condition.
Knowing what differentiates the light attack that you can shake off with a little help from your inhaler and the suffocating attack that could take you to the hospital will be of the utmost importance when you’re training.
Unfortunately, knowing the difference between the opposing parts of the spectrum can only be learned through experiencing both of the ends of said spectrum. So, you’re in for a lot of trial and error (which makes it even more important to have someone train with you.
How to Deal With Asthma Attacks When Practicing Parkour
Here’s a checklist of what you should do when you start getting an attack during training:
- Calm down
- Sit upright
- Breathe deeply and slowly
- Take a break from your exercising
- Get away from the crowd
- Drink a hot beverage (coffee works well)
- Use your inhaler
- Go to the hospital
What Do the Doctors Say? Should You Do Parkour if You Have Asthma?
There are many sports and activities that have a scientifically proven positive effect on asthma.
Swimming is the foremost of them, and when asthma is developed early in life, most doctors suggest that the child takes up swimming to strengthen their lungs.
Apart from that, many experts claim that sports with short and intense bursts of activity are good for people with asthma. Parkour is definitely one of those activities.
Apart from being intense enough to help your muscles and lungs, parkour incorporates lots of running which will increase your overall stamina and make your body generally more durable.
All in all, parkour is a very good way to help anyone with asthma.