Coughing After Running

Coughing after running is a common experience of people who have a condition known as exercise-induced bronchoconstriction. This phenomenon occurs when your airways temporarily narrow during or after any kind of physical activity that increases your heart rate. It makes air flow to and out of the lungs more difficult, causing you to cough. Yet, aside from this most common cause, there can be other possible issues behind the cough after exercise. Let's continue to figure out this issue.

Coughing After Running—Why?

1. Exercise-Induced Bronchospasm/ Asthma

Exercise-induced bronchospasm or EIB, which is also known as exercise-induced asthma, happens to some people whose airways shrink while exercising, which is usually triggered by any strenuous exercise like soccer. So exercising for more than 30 minutes can lead to coughing after running.

Bronchospasm makes it difficult for you to breathe, and symptoms typically start 5-20 minutes after nonstop exercise. These include coughing, difficulty breathing, wheezing (a squeaky or whistling sound), chest pain, and chest tightness, which are similar to asthma. Other risk factors that may induce coughing after runninginclude:

  • Cold air
  • Air pollution
  • Dry air
  • High pollen count
  • Swimming pools with chlorine
  • Chemicals in ice rink
  • Respiratory infection

2. Magnesium Deficiency

A deficiency in magnesium can cause coughing and burning sensation in the lungs. Magnesium is a natural substance that helps your muscles work properly, along with calcium, to enable efficient muscle contraction. A lack of magnesium causes muscle cells in your airways to go into spasm, which leads to tightening of the air passages. This further causes wheezing and coughing after running.

3. Being Sick While Running

If you are out of shape, you are more likely to experience wheezing and difficulty in breathing during long periods of exercise. De-conditioning can result in constriction of your blood vessels and excess mucus production. This is why you should make sure you are in good physical condition before you embark on vigorous exercise routines, otherwise you could experience coughing after running.

When to Seek Medical Help

Consult your doctor if you have symptoms of EIB. This condition may mimic other more serious disorders such as bronchial asthma and heart disease. Although coughing after running is not always a serious illness, it's important to get an accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment when necessary. Emergency treatment is necessary if:

  • Your symptoms do not get better or seem to be getting worse.
  • Your experience shortness of breath and wheezing every time you exercise.
  • No improvement after using prescription inhalers for asthmatic attacks.

How to Deal with Coughing After Running

1. Home Remedies

As for the EIB or EIA, some home remedies can be applied to prevent/minimize symptoms, including:

  • Always begin regular exercises by doing a 10-minute warm-up with varying intensities.
  • Try to breathe through the nose in exercise. The nose can warm and humidify air before it enters your lungs, which can avoid coughing after exercise.
  • During cold and dry weather, use a scarf or face mask when exercising.
  • Avoid triggers if you are prone to allergies. Especially in season when pollen counts are high, avoid exercising outdoors.
  • Stay in shape by exercising regularly. Avoid doing strenuous exercise if you have colds or other lung infections.
  • Take care of your respiratory health and avoid infections especially during the flu season.

2. Take Medications

There are medications that can help reduce inflammation, open up the airways, and make it easier for you to breathe. You can take short-acting medications after just before strenuous exercises, or when you start coughing after running. Long-acting medications help to prevent exercise-induced attacks. Medicines helping to control allergies can also be taken to relieve symptoms. Ask your doctor for the effective medication for you. Here is a chart for you to refer to.

Medications

How to Apply

Short-Acting Bronchodilators

Short-acting bronchodilators are inhaled beta-2-agonists that stop your symptoms right away. When taken 15-30 minutes before intense exercise, they can prevent coughing after running for 2-4 hours.

Long-Term Medicines help to control asthma for daily use and prevent your symptoms or attacks.

ŸInhaled corticosteroids, which help reduce inflammation and relieve narrowing of the airways. These are the most commonly prescribed asthma medications for long-term use. Maximum effect of these drugs may occur after at least two weeks of daily use.

ŸLong-acting inhaled bronchodilators, which are beta-2-agonists, help prevent symptoms for 10-12 hours. They must be taken 30-60 minutes before beginning exercise, and only can be used once in 12 hours. Usually, they are taken in combination with inhaled corticosteroids.

3. Opt for Other Activities

If coughing after running is a problem for you, you may want to try other sports and activities that are less likely to cause symptoms. These include sports that require short bursts of activity such as gymnastics, volleyball, baseball, golf, swimming, wrestling, football and short period track and field events. Although swimming involves constant activity, the warm water can make it easier for you to breathe. You can also try walking and recreational biking instead of long-distance running.

 
 
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