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Asthma and hiking

I was just recently diagnosed with asthma. Apparently I can not use albuterol. Has anyone had a similar experience? The steep inclines are extremely difficult but once the trail levels out, I am completely fine. Do you find something that works well for you? Looking for advice as the pulmonologist is booked for several months.

4 Replies

I have the same problem. Interested in any advice 


Same problem, What I've found most helpful is a combination of a few things. 1.) get as ultra-light as you can. I've gotten my base weight down from 20 something lbs down to 12 or 15 lbs that's helped a LOT 

2.) WALK all the time, I walk 6 miles a day now on bike trails in parks around home, and I include the biggest hills in them there are. When I first started doing this, my saturation would go down to like 88 and my heart rate up to like 145 and I couldn't get up what I used to call "the killer hill" without stopping midway up and be bent over gasping for air.....over time (just 4 months! of keeping at it!) I've increased the daily walk distance incrementally from 1 mile every day to now 6 miles, with the "killer hill" done 3 times in it, now it's not the "killer hill" now it's the "pretty hard hill". And that brings me to

3.) LOSE WEIGHT! I can't tell you how much that's helped me too! Our lung capacity can't handle our weight PLUS a heavy backpack going up mountains....I've lost about 50 something pounds, gone from 202 lbs in February down to 153 lbs now in August....shooting for 142 lbs at 5' 9" and my age (64) that's my ideal weight. 

The last trip out (in July....about 13 miles over 2 days) I was still getting winded but NOTHING like the time before that trip (April...8 miles took me 13 hours) back then I got de-saturated and at first was able to make it blaze to blaze on the trees....then it got to halfway between blazes I'd have to stop and catch my breath, the stops became up to 5 or 10 minutes.

So I really think the more I work my lungs really hard, the better my lung capacity gets. Hope that helps....there's NO easy way though if you have takes a lot of hard work....but there's a huge payoff....ALL COPD gets worse and worse over years. And the lung damage done won't "heal"....but it's been proven that regular exercise while it won't reverse it, can and does slow it's progression, maybe even stop it! And it's been my personal experience that it gets doesn't EVER get easy heck if it was easy who'd want to do it anyway, right?

I too suffer from asthma and can, but don't like, to use an inhaler.  I've also had issues with asthma while I hike.

 Since asthma is an inflammatory disease, the following have helped me immensely.

1. Losing weight

2. Hiking lots on flat ground 

3. Daily use of an OTC allergy medication, like citerzine, which is non-drowsy.

4.  Swimming as an off-trail exercise. Try to work up to two to three times a week, 15 to 30 laps each.

4. The Wim Hof method of breaking and  alternating exposure between hot and cold.

 The overall goal is to reduce the inflammatory response. If you've never heard of the last one, the Wim Hoff method, I cannot recommend it highly enough. It is not only transformed how my allergies and asthma impact my life, it has also helped immensely in my hiking and other physical activities. 


The medication Singulair is something I've been prescribed to help reduce my exercise-induced asthma (I was diagnosed about 30 years ago).  It's worked really well for me, and allows me to go up 4 flights of steep stairs without my asthma kicking in (which it would do before I started that medication).

Also, there are non-albuterol rescue inhalers (the technical name for asthma rescue inhalers is 'short-acting bronchodilators'). Anyone with asthma should have a rescue inhaler they can take when they're having an asthma attack.