Growing up an athlete, I was always used to intense practices, workouts, and weekend-long tournaments where games seemed endless. Yet, as I got older, I found that I was having a hard time breathing during the exercises that were practically second nature to me. This confused me because I knew my body was physically capable of all that I was doing. I never thought that the cause of my struggle would be asthma. 

I found myself asking my coach to sit out during practices or put a substitute in for me during games, just so I could catch my breath. Not only was this causing a decrease in my playing time, but I also wasn't playing to my full potential when I was in because of how hard it was to breathe. 

So, at 16 years old, I took this issue to my allergist, who finally figured out that I had exercise-induced asthma.

Exercise-induced asthma is when the airways in your lungs get narrow as you do strenuous exercise.

Some effects of this are wheezing, coughing, and experiencing a shortness of breath. I was finally able to figure out why I couldn’t breathe or stop coughing during practice. My allergist provided me with an inhaler that made breathing during practice much easier.

But luckily, the symptoms of exercise-induced asthma can be reduced. I knew that I didn’t want to limit my athletic ability to what I could do only when I was using an inhaler; so I looked for other options. I had learned that spin could help increase the efficiency of your lungs and overall ability to breathe. So, I decided to start taking spin classes at my local gym.

After my first class, I thought my lungs were going to explode, even though I had used my inhaler before class. I was not used to exerting that much energy into one cardio workout without much of a break. After going two times a week for a few months, I found that I was not only seeing results in my body externally, but internally.

I was no longer struggling to get air into my lungs before, during, or after my workout. Because spin is such an intense workout, it was allowing me to push my body in a more controlled way. Seeing how much stronger my lungs got after I incorporated spinning into my fitness routine made me realize how important training our bodies in all aspects, truly was.

When people think of spin class, they think of toned legs and sculpted arms. But the secret benefits of improved lung capacity and controlled breathing during rigorous exercise helped me beat the thing that was holding me back as an athlete.