It was once thought that physical activities like sports and exercise were bad for children with asthma. Many kids missed out on the games their peers played and as a result were sometimes looked at as weak or fragile.

The belief was within reason—exercise can and does lead to asthma attacks. But we now know that if asthma is properly controlled, exercise is not harmful and may even be helpful in treating asthma. Doctors are now recommending kids with asthma get as much exercise as their peers—“60 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a day, such as brisk walking, plus high intensity activity three times a week.”

Of course, for kids with asthma, precautions still need to be taken. Left untreated, an asthma attack can lead to death, so children should have their asthma medication and inhaler or nebulizer nearby. They should also warm up before exercising by starting at a slower pace, and cool down after exercises.

According to Pennsylvania State University immunologist Dr. Timothy Craig, if exercise frequently leads to asthma attacks then a better asthma treatment plan is needed. That doesn't mean you’ll have to stop exercising, but it does mean you should talk to your doctor about how to get your asthma better under control.