Cyclists Breathe

11“I think the asthma medicine has helped my time drop just this last week b/c my breathing has improved so much. Today I was NEVER wheezing and that hasn’t happened ever this season. I give God and the coaches all of the credit!” Marshal Hartley, Junior Cyclist

Air Helmet may be a little extreme

Marshal improved despite Exercise-Induced Asthma, EIA. Inhaler relief complemented learning to relax during races. EIA can result in decreased exhalation, discomfort, and distraction.

Asthma is long-term inflammation of the lung’s breathing passages and its attacks can be mild as well as life-threatening. While 12only a small percentage of Sudden Cardiac Deaths are related to asthma, 13mortality rates per 100,000 are 1-3 people per year. In an attack, airways swell and secrete large amounts of mucous. This leads to shortness of breath, chest pain or tightness. Attacks may be caused by a number of factors, such as: air quality, respiratory infections, allergens in air, extremes of temperature and humidity, emotional stress, and exercise intensity.

Those with EIA are 14unusually sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity. Continuous, hard cycling is a more likely scenario for an attack than short bursts interspersed with breaks. Cyclists can control EIA through purposeful warm-ups and cool-downs and meds. EIA prescriptions are a class of drugs related to the hormone, adrenaline, requiring a standard Therapeutic Use Exemption by WADA. However, research is 15“overwhelmingly on the side that in otherwise healthy individuals, taking a beta-2 (β2) agonist will not help performance even if it helps pulmonary function (studies are mixed on the latter).” Therefore, breathing for the asthmatic improves but there is no 16ergogenic potential of inhaled β2 agonists in non-asthmatic athletes.

With treatment, elite athletes with EIA are not hindered to perform but may still cope with stress related to the condition, and an attack may be a scary, exhausting experience. Whether you suffer this yourself or see it in another in the peloton, enlist an asthma/allergy expert for help.

Prayer re: Exercise-Induced Asthma

My strength is gone, and it is hard for me to breathe….He said…‘Don’t be afraid. God loves you very much. Peace be with you. Be strong now; be courageous.’” 17Revelation 10:17, 19

We ask for easy breathing, the proper approval for prescription inhalers and complete 18healing if You will it.

Ponder Do I seek God for all that ails me? Affirm I surrender to peace when fear tries to grip me. Watch God meet you in every struggle.

11Conversations with Marshal Hartley, Junior Cyclist with EIA

12“Sudden Death in Young Athletes,” presented by John Vitarello MD F.A.C.C. on November 8, 2007 as a USA Cycling webinar.

13“Asthma” listed on Center for Disease Control website Figures vary depending on region and ethnicity.

14“Exercise-Induced Asthma,” posted on

15Conversation with Sam Callan, USA Cycling Science & Education on April 10, 2008. This is not necessarily an official USAC opinion. Sam himself has EIA.

16“Inhaled beta-2 (ß2) agonists and performance in competitive athletes,” by W Kindermann and T Meyer published in British Journal of Sports Medicine 2006; 40 (Supplement 1) Copyright © 2006 BMJ Publishing Group Ltd & British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine.

17The Holy Bible, New Century Version® Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

18Asthma is reversible through medical treatment in some cases. See the following book for an Asthma anecdote from a spiritual perspective in conjunction with medical treatment, So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore by Jake Colsen Copyright © 2006 Lifestream Ministries published by Windblown Media Moorpark, CA

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