Health Watch - Exercise: Catch Your Breath

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about using the recent Winter Olympics as motivation and inspiration to start exercising. While proper workout gear makes it possible to exercise outdoors even on cold days, some people may experience trouble when exercising in cold conditions.

Cold weather may make exercise-induced asthma worse. Dr. Indu Warrier, an allergist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says cold temperatures and dry air can dry out the mucous membranes that line breathing passages, making asthma symptoms worse. Symptoms include coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath during exercise or physical activity. This doesn’t mean you can’t exercise in the cold. You just need to take precautions. You may need to use an inhaler before exercising or take medication for exercise-induced asthma. Managing your condition with maintenance medication will also help make exercise easier.

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March 2010


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