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5 athletes you didn't know have asthma

Asthma doesn't have to prevent a healthy lifestyle and, in fact, regular exercise can help manage asthma symptoms. A healthy workout can help:

  • Improve lung strength
  • Boost the immune system
  • Support weight loss


Asthma is not the debilitating disease that it is often portrayed as, and it certainly didn't stop these famous athletes from achieving their dreams.

Paula Radcliffe

Diagnosed at the age of 14 with an exercise-induced asthma trigger, Paula went on to become one of the best marathon runners in the world, and to this day holds the Women's World Record for marathon with a time of 2:15:25.

Paula states that, when training, she uses a preventative inhaler in the morning and a reliever inhaler before exercising, increasing the dosage as needed. She would then use a preventative inhaler again before going to bed.

David Beckham

The former England captain is an inspiration for many young footballers across the country, and remains one of the most iconic names in English football. However, many would be surprised to know that David has suffered from asthma since his childhood.

Though he has never sought to make it public, the fact came out during his final cup game with LA Galaxy. Afterwards he told reporters

"If it does inspire any sufferer to think they can achieve great things like many other sportsmen have done then so much the better."

Amy Van Dyken

The American former competitive swimmer, Olympic gold medal winner and former world record holder suffered from asthma for her entire childhood. The severity of her asthma prevented her from joining in many activities, until she was six and doctors recommended she tries swimming.

Despite oppositions from her peers, Amy smashed every record, becoming the star of her school swim team and not stopping until she reached the Olympics.

Swimming is often recommended to asthma sufferers due to the moisture-filled air, endurance building exercise and great lung control that it helps develop.

Frank Lampard

The all-time leading Chelsea goal scorer is held in high regard as one of the greatest midfielders in football. However, few realise he accomplished this despite suffering from asthma since an early age.

Much like his father, Frank Lampard Sr, the young Frank Lampard began his career at West Ham United, before moving on to play for Chelsea, Manchester City and the England national team.

"There were many times in my career as a kid when I thought I wouldn't make it..."

With over 200 total goals scored, Frank remains one of the legends of English football, overcoming every hurdle in his path.

Kristi Yamaguchi

Olympic gold medal figure skater, two-time world champion and member of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, Kristi Yamaguchi is an inspiration for aspiring athletes who suffer from asthma. In 2008, she was named chairperson for the American Lung Association, helping to promote respiratory health and fight lung disease.

Kristi has battled asthma since she was a child, but her grace and strength, both on the ice and off it, became an inspiration for many.

Top tips for athletic success

Exercise induced asthma is the most common asthma trigger for athletes to suffer from. Exercise induced attacks can be a big hurdle for burgeoning athletes to get over, causing many to question their dreams. However, much like the accomplished athletes in this list have done, it can be fought and beaten. With good planning and a few preventative steps, asthma can be handled and controlled.

A preventive inhaler, taken once in the morning and once at night, can help control asthma symptoms and keep any attacks at bay. A reliever inhaler, used before exercise or kept close at hand in case of an attack, will prevent any symptoms from getting in the way of a good workout.

Always make sure to warm up fully before engaging in exercise, particularly in cold weather. Afterwards, go through a few warm down exercises as well, taking particular care to stretch. This can help against triggering attacks from sudden shifts in temperature.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, set goals and achieve them. Once asthma control is part of your routine, you can achieve your athletic goals.



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