Do Sports Cause Asthma?

Sports and Asthma

Certain sports seem to be more likely to trigger an asthma attack, including sports associated with cool, dry air and high-intensity sports. Sports more likely to induce an asthma attack include the following:
  • Basketball
  • Soccer
  • Cycling
  • Long-distance running
  • Hockey
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Speed skating.
Other sports that are less likely to trigger an asthma attack include moderate-intensity activities, such as baseball, football, tennis, volleyball, and wrestling.
People with asthma who want to remain physically active often choose swimming because it is the least likely activity to trigger an asthma attack.
Keep in mind that for older adults, swimming does not have the same beneficial impact on bone health as weight-bearing exercises that work the body against gravity, such as the following activities:
  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Racquet sports
  • Basketball
  • Volleyball
  • Aerobics
  • Dancing
  • Weight training.
People who experience asthma from exercise should exercise in an environmentally controlled facility and participate in activities that fall within their limitations.


Asthma due to exercise is one of the most common conditions among active children, adolescents, and young adults. It occurs in almost 90 percent of people who have chronic asthma and in 40 percent of individuals who have allergic rhinitis or atopic dermatitis.
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Asthma Information

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