Healthiest Sports for Children with Asthma

Parents who seek asthma treatment in New York for their children are often concerned that allowing their child to engage in sports activity will aggravate their symptoms like wheezing, coughing, and troubled breathing. However, just because a child has asthma doesn’t mean they have to stay on the sidelines. All children like to play and be active and some sports are better choices for children with asthma than others. The question is: What are the best sports for children with asthma?

Sports for Asthma Sufferers to AVOID

Cold-Environment Sports

Any sport played under very cold-weather conditions – such as ice hockey, ice skating, snow skiing, or snowboarding, to name a few – can be very taxing on the lungs as well as the rest of the body. These are particularly hard on asthma sufferers.

Vigorous Sports

Sports that require vigorous activity — such as high-skill gymnastics (tumbling) or track and field – can easily trigger asthma attacks due to their intensity.

Sports that Take Place over Long Periods of Time

Sports with games that last a long time – like soccer, basketball, or football – aren’t easy on children with asthma either. Football can be especially dangerous for asthma sufferers when the game lasts for an extended period under grueling conditions.

Asthma-Friendly Sports


Swimming has been recommended as an excellent form of exercise for people who have asthma at any age. Breathing in the warm, moist air from the pool environment (as opposed to cool, dry air which can trigger an attack) can reduce the risk of exercise-induced bronchoconstriction. Swimming also helps develop good breathing practices, strengthening the lungs. In fact, asthma is very common among Olympic-level swimmers!


Certain yoga poses and breathing practices, called pranayama, might help release suppressed emotions, reduce anxiety and self-consciousness, and relax muscle tension — all of which help asthma sufferers breathe better. To learn more about yoga and asthma, see Dr. Shukla for asthma treatment in New York.

Baseball or Softball

With spurts of running alternating with plenty of downtime, baseball and softball fit the bill for asthma sufferers looking for a sport to play.


Golf does not involve running or much intense physical activity – just a lot of easy walking and light cardiovascular exercise. This makes it good for children with asthma. However, since golf is played outdoors you must take precaution to avoid humidity, pollution, and allergens that can cause an asthma attack.

Martial Arts

Martial arts are an indoor activity which encourages movement, strength building, and body control. This is an excellent way to exercise without taxing the lungs. Breathing exercises used in martial arts classes may also ease the sense of panic that can accompany an asthma attack.


Fencing is another indoor activity which is not too vigorous or hard on the lungs. It is also practiced in short spurts, so it is not as likely to trigger an asthma attack.


Volleyball is faster paced than some of the other sports on the list, but it is still an appropriate choice for children with asthma. This is because setting and striking don’t involve a lot of movement and although there are spurts of running, they are confined to a small court with five other players ready to “pick up the slack.”

Sports & Asthma Tip #1: Pre-Game

Using an inhaler 13 to 30 minutes before exercising in addition to taking the time to warm-up can keep your child breathing easier throughout the game.

Sports & Asthma Tip #2: During the Game

Make sure you keep an inhaler handy during the entire game in case of an attack.

When treating asthma in children, it is crucial to catch it as early as possible – ideally before the first attack even occurs! Asthma is the leading source of chronic illness in children in the US. Dr. Shukla’s pediatric asthma clinic offers premier asthma treatment in New York for children. If you think your child has asthma or feel their condition is getting worse, contact Dr. Shukla Online or at (917)924-6383!

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