Hiking With Asthma
By Emily Caffry, Girls Who Hike Maine Ambassador
I was diagnosed with exercise induced asthma when I was in 9th grade. At that point, I was already pretty into hiking and backpacking, and also swam year round. Seeking the proper treatment for my asthma made all of my favorite activities easier on my body and that much more enjoyable for me. Here are some additional tips that help me out when I’m having trouble breathing on the trail. Disclaimer: I am not a doctor - just sharing my own experience and what works for me! Make sure to talk to your doctor about your asthma/if you think you might have asthma!
1. Take your inhaler! (as prescribed by your doctor).
2. Take breaks! If you’re feeling out of breath - don’t be afraid to tell your hiking companions that you need a breathing break :)
3. If you feel breathing getting hard or an attack coming on, breathe in through your nose, and then out through pursed lips (like you’re blowing out a candle). This creates pressure in your lungs that enables the airway to open and let trapped air out. Fun fact: the issue in asthma attacks is not actually breathing in, but letting air out to let you take your next breath.
4. Keep your nose clear! When I’m congested, it makes it a lot harder for me to breathe through my nose while exercising. I’m all about the snot rocket when hiking, but you could also use tissues… (as long as you carry them out! #LNT)
5. Try not to compress your upper body especially when walking uphill to open up your lungs more.
Happy hiking and happy breathing!