Exercising outdoors can be tricky when you struggle with allergies or have a chronic lung condition, but fitness experts Chris and Heidi Powell say there are a few things you can do that won’t leave you wheezing.
“So often we think in order to get a good workout in we have to go as fast as we can and really start huffing and puffing, but that’s not the reality,” Heidi tells Yahoo Lifestyle. That’s why she and Chris recommend these exercises. You can do them outside or inside, and they’re pretty gentle on your lungs.
This is your standard push-up, but on an incline. “It’s really wonderful when you’re outside and you’re using a park bench or picnic table or even a wall because the elevated surface scales the push-up so it’s a lot easier based on your ability levels,” Chris says. For the best form, he recommends keeping your body rigid, from your shoulders down to your heels, during your push-up.
“For the lower body, you can’t go wrong with a body-weight squat,” Chris says. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and shift your weight to your heels. Then, using your hands as a counter balance, slowly bend your knees and lower yourself until your rear gently touches a chair behind you. Pause a moment, and then push through your heels back to standing.
The American Lung Association recommends practicing several breathing exercises regularly. That includes diaphragmatic breathing, which is “an incredible breathing exercise to strengthen the diaphragm for maximum lung capacity,” Chris says. To do it, place your hands on your stomach. As you breathe in, feel your stomach extend out; when you exhale, feel it contract. Another one to try: Breathe in through your nose for half the time and out through your mouth for the full time, such as breathing in for four seconds and out for eight seconds.
Heidi stresses that it’s a good idea to rest in between exercises. “That rest is going to give us time to breathe and that’s what we’re trying to battle now anyway, that painful breathing that sometimes we can feel during allergy season,” she says.
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