The Sports Archives – Shortness Of Breath When Exercising: What Causes It And Should You Be Worried?

It’s perfectly normal to get out of breath when you exercise. Your heart rate is up and your muscles are working overtime, so you need to get a lot of oxygen into your bloodstream. But some people find that they are very short of breath as soon as they do any physical activity and they are unable to take enough air in. This is a different situation and it’s definitely worth getting checked out by a doctor, just in case it’s caused by something serious. In most cases, there is a simple explanation and you can usually manage the problem fairly easily once you work out what is causing it in the first place. These are some of the reasons why you experience shortness of breath when exercising. 

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Your Weight

It’s very common for people that are overweight to experience shortness of breath when they exercise. Physical activity puts a lot of strain on your body when you are carrying excess weight, and that makes it difficult to breathe comfortably. This can leave you in a tricky situation because, the chances are, the reason that you are exercising in the first place is that you want to tackle your weight issues. If you experience shortness of breath when you exercise, it may be because you are pushing yourself too hard. If you are overweight and you haven’t done much exercise in the past, diving straight into high intensity activities like running, for example, will put too much strain on your body. It’s best to start out with light activity, like walking, and build it up gradually. 

Poor Air Quality

Shortness of breath and tightness in the chest can be caused by poor air quality and it’s much worse when you are exercising and taking much larger breaths. Think about where you exercise and how that could affect your breathing. For example, if you run alongside a busy road with lots of cars, the fumes could cause shortness of breath. Even if you workout at home, you may still have a problem with air quality. Make sure that you open a window if possible and check your air conditioning unit. If it’s not working effectively or the filters are dirty, it could be pumping pollution into the home and causing shortness of breath. Call out a 24 hour AC repair company to take a look and you may notice a big difference when working out at home. If you can find wide open green space away from busy roads, the air quality will be much better for working out. 


Many people with asthma don’t realize that they have it because they only experience shortness of breath when exercising and they assume it must be something else. But people get asthma to varying degrees and while some people need an inhaler on a daily basis to breathe properly, others will only have problems when exerting themselves. If you consistently have problems with shortness of breath when exercising, it’s worth checking with your doctor to see if you have asthma. 

These are the most common causes of shortness of breath when exercising but it could be caused by a more serious health condition, so always get checked by a professional, just in case.

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