If you’re experiencing a persistent cough after running, especially in the cold, you could have a common condition called exercise-induced bronchoconstriction.
You’ve just been on a nice run outdoors. You pushed yourself all the way and now you have that amazing post-run feeling, fueled by endorphins in your body. But now you’ve got a serious cough? There is nothing worse than when that happens! So why do you cough after running, when you were completely fines before and during your run?
Before you start to worry that your coughing fit might be a symptom of COVID-19, know this: your cough after running is likely just a symptom of a common condition called exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB). This condition most commonly occurs when you’ve been exercising outdoors in the cold, dry air, which causes the airways in your lungs to narrow for a brief moment.
It’s similar to what happens to people with asthma. That’s why EIB is also known as “exercise-induced asthma”. The difference is that asthma attacks can be triggered by inhaling things like smoke, pollen and mold among others, whereas EIB only occurs after exercise.
How do you know if your cough after running is due to EIB?
The most common symptoms of EIB include coughing (obviously), wheezing, shortness of breath and even tightness in your chest. These symptoms are usually mild to moderate, resulting in more of an annoyance than anything serious. However, EIB could also be more severe – especially if you already have asthma.
How long does EIB last after exercise?
EIB can occur after just 10-15 minutes of running, but any exercise that raises your heart rate (HR) can trigger it – especially if it’s done outdoors in the cold!
The good news is that EIB clears up within 60 minutes, however it could be prolonged if you already suffer from asthma.
How to stop coughing after running
If you suffer from asthma and exercise triggers EIB, you should consult your GP who will most likely prescribe an inhaler to help you deal with the symptoms.
But a simple way to reduce EIB is to do a 10-15 minute warm up in order to raise your core temperature and get used to the cold air. Your warm up can be anything from simple brisk walking before you begin your run. Doing this will also help to warm up the synovial fluid in your joints to help you avoid other injuries and improve your performance!
Another way to stop your cough after running is to wear a face mask that can help to warm up the air and humidify it before you inhale it. (Check out these comfortable face masks for exercise by MyProtein.)
Don’t forget to breath in through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Your nose hairs act as a natural air filter, allowing fresh oxygen to enter your body while keeping a lot of the dust and toxins out. But it doesn’t end there, as your nose hairs also humidify the air you breath in, keeping your respiratory system from drying out and irritated.
This article first appeared on GYMNASIUMPOST.com on 5th November, 2020