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  1. #1
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    Anybody get shortness of breath while riding?

    The more I go out, the more frustrated I become. I get a shortness of breath to the point where I have to get off my bike and pull it to the side. I've had lung problems in the past and carry an inhaler with me for strenuous exercise, but does anybody else bike with breathing problems? I think if I was able to ride on just flat terrain I would be ok.
    Anyway, I'm starting to lean more towards getting a road bike. It's not that I'm out of shape, it's that I feel like I have 80yr old lungs and I'm 38.

  2. #2
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    If the inhaler helps when you are SOB, you might consider preventive meds such as QVar, etc. Talk to your doctor.

    If the inhaler doesn't help, you're probably just out of condition...

    jeff

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by noodletips
    If the inhaler helps when you are SOB, you might consider preventive meds such as QVar, etc. Talk to your doctor.

    If the inhaler doesn't help, you're probably just out of condition...

    jeff
    Not true dude. Inhaler only helps partially, but even if you're out of shape it shouldn't take a long time for your lungs to recover. Just wondering if anyone else out there has experiences while riding.

  4. #4
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    yep...

    years of riding and half-ass training did nothing to help. My heart rate shoots right up to max.

    I accept I may be a short twitch muscle guy, and the stamina isn't something realistic for me. I also have a heart murmur, and have no idea how much that affects/doesn't affect me. but it doesn't help. As a kid I could clean anyone in the 100M dash, but anything much longer and I would fall back winded. So I know the history of my physical being isn't supportive of trying to do, say, the Tour de France.

    Now I focus on having fun, and if the rest of the group is he// bent on going faster, well, I just drop off the back and enjoy the ride.

    \Jim

  5. #5
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    Shortness of breath like your airways are constricting?
    Bike good, work bad.

  6. #6
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    ...but even if you're out of shape it shouldn't take a long time for your lungs to recover.


  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by noodletips
    ...but even if you're out of shape it shouldn't take a long time for your lungs to recover.

    do you even know what it's like to have a lung ailment?
    if you are out of shape and don't have a lung ailment, you will feel it but will recover without feeling like you're going to black out or feeling like you are never going to catch your breath.

  8. #8
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    I have shortness of breath, but I'm a fat ass...

  9. #9
    GO JIMMIE!!
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    I used to get shortness of breath a few years ago when I was smoking. I quit smoking in '07 so it's getting better.
    My Bike: '03 Specialized HardRock FrankenBike
    My Blog: http://http://kona0197.wordpress.com/

  10. #10
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    I can't really help or have any ideas about what
    you can do as far as your shortness of breath. I do
    know one thing, getting a road bike isn't going to
    make things easier. I road bike and mountain bike,
    both will kick your ass. I went on a road ride today
    after doing nothing but ride my mountain bikes for
    the last 2 weeks and I thought I was going to die.
    I say stick with what you have and just try and have
    fun. If you have to take a break every now and then
    so what, it isn't the end of the world. I don't have a
    lung problem, but after a long climb I will pull over
    to catch my breath.

    Best, John

  11. #11
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    I had mild exercise induced asthma growing up. Now, I'm not sure what's going on, but my docs don't seem to think the asthma is a problem anymore (I've asked many times). I still get pretty short of breath, though, at times.

    What I think is going on is that I'm mostly out of shape. My legs are ok, but my heart/lungs are not. Therefore, it's easy for me to max my HR. Very easy. I've checked it with a HRM. When my HR maxes, that's when I get out of breath, and recovery can take awhile.

    The few times I've been able to ride regularly, it does get better, as long as I watch myself and don't max so much (that hinders improvement).

    I'd suggest something similar. Ride as regularly as you can. Put down base miles or warmup miles whenever you can. This will let your heart/lungs get a workout without maxing. You can do this on easy trails if you have 'em, but I usually just ride paved paths for base miles (not so conditional on weather that way). Ride farther/harder as you feel up to it, and you should start seeing some improvements in your normal mtb rides. It may take as long as a whole season to get where you want (especially with lung trouble), but there's nothing saying you can't do it. I played soccer for YEARS with my asthma. It took me longer to get conditioned, but when I was I could play a full 90 min at full tilt with everyone else. I'm starting to take my conditioning more seriously (I want to go longer and harder than I have in recent years), and having a HRM and a bike computer (I'm thinking of getting the whole package with a Garmin Edge) helps to track your progress and make sure your HR is at the ideal spot to get the workout you want.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    I had mild exercise induced asthma growing up. Now, I'm not sure what's going on, but my docs don't seem to think the asthma is a problem anymore (I've asked many times).
    So did my son. He had to be carried off the soccer field once when he was around eight. Ended up at the ER another time with shortness of breath while staying over with a friend. For a while, we always had an inhaler with us when riding. No idea what kind...the wifey handled all that.

    Now, at thirteen, he's ripping up the trails and leaving me in the dust like it all never happened.

    But my ten YO daughter had the same problem on a ride yesterday. First time I've seen it in her. She was also complaining of tightness in her throat.
    Last edited by UpRocks; 08-08-2009 at 09:44 PM.

  13. #13
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    Yeah, I'm in the same boat...

    I'm 46 and have some respiratory issues and reduced lung function. When I started riding about a year ago I had big time problems with hills. I'm in Ohio, so we're not talking about 500 ft of altitude gain at a time either - just your average small hill. Sometimes I'd have to take two or three breathing breaks on one hill, and then still end up walking the bike up to the top.

    But I was enjoying myself so I kept on riding. My slower pace made me feel more comfortable riding solo, so I wasn't keeping more fit riders to a too slow pace. There's something about riding solo, where you're doing it just for yourself - your pace, your stops when you want them - that I enjoy. So for the last year I've been doing a mess of solo rides, plus going on a bunch more with my brother.

    I've been out two or three times a week all fall, winter and spring. By this summer I notice that I'm able to ride WAY more hills than before. Hills that I NEVER could have managed to make last fall without resting are now possible to ride right up. To me at least, the change is dramatic. I'll never be a climbing champ, or even close, but I imagine I'll continue to build more strength as I ride more. And it certainly hasn't eliminated my respiratory issues - I just had another brief hospitalization for another infection two weeks ago - but I think I can enjoy the sport at my level while continuing to improve my respiratory strength and general fitness. Heck, I think I'm probably in better shape this summer than I have been in twenty years, mostly because of riding.

    Steve Z
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    And paddling when it's wet

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  14. #14
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    Oh yeah, those hills are killers. Huffing and puffing an gasping for breath. I have been doing it a year and am much better than when I started. Still my lungs give out before my legs, but they also recover much quicker than sore legs. Keep riding, it will get better.

  15. #15
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    Try breathing exercises.

    For example, sit in a comfortable position, inhale as deeply as possible, count to 7, then exhale. Do a few sets a day.

    The other option is to start running. Wind sprints are a great way to increase your lung capacity and to train your core and your lungs to expand fully.

    The deal behind this is that most people don't utilize their full lung capacity in daily life. So your breathing gets lazy. Doing such exercises or running will expand your lungs and will force you to learn to breath fully and rhythmically.

    One other thing you should consider is to 'slow down' when riding and concentrate on your breathing. Think of this as training. Then increase your speed as your breathing improves.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by roc865
    The more I go out, the more frustrated I become. I get a shortness of breath to the point where I have to get off my bike and pull it to the side. I've had lung problems in the past and carry an inhaler with me for strenuous exercise, but does anybody else bike with breathing problems? I think if I was able to ride on just flat terrain I would be ok.
    Anyway, I'm starting to lean more towards getting a road bike. It's not that I'm out of shape, it's that I feel like I have 80yr old lungs and I'm 38.
    Don't be surprised if there's a big psychological component to what you are feeling. Going into oxygen debt is something most folks don't experience too often. It triggers a "drowning" panic reaction which can stop you in your tracks, which compounds the problem. Overcoming this is how people who live at high altitude survive. You learn to ignore the panic and keep going. I lived at 9000' and exercised up to 14000' for years and learned to deal with it.
    .
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoWayHosay
    Going into oxygen debt is something most folks don't experience too often. It triggers a "drowning" panic reaction which can stop you in your tracks, which compounds the problem.
    Hey, I thought I was seeing panic in my daughters eyes on yesterday's ride. At the time I wasn't sure what to think about it.

    Good info. Thank you.
    Quote Originally Posted by Old Oi Punk
    Thou shalt not speaketh Ill of IBEX. PERIOD!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoWayHosay
    Don't be surprised if there's a big psychological component to what you are feeling. Going into oxygen debt is something most folks don't experience too often. It triggers a "drowning" panic reaction which can stop you in your tracks, which compounds the problem. Overcoming this is how people who live at high altitude survive. You learn to ignore the panic and keep going. I lived at 9000' and exercised up to 14000' for years and learned to deal with it.
    Nope. No psychological connection. I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis in my lungs. My lung function has gotten worse since I was diagnosed in 99'. Than I was involved with 9/11 which didn't help. I guess dealing with it and just knowing when to slow down is the best way to tackle it. Either that or just ride downhill.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by roc865
    Nope. No psychological connection. I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis in my lungs. My lung function has gotten worse since I was diagnosed in 99'. Than I was involved with 9/11 which didn't help. I guess dealing with it and just knowing when to slow down is the best way to tackle it. Either that or just ride downhill.
    I don't know about your case, but in some cases, you can get to that level of fitness, but it takes longer due to your reduced function. Don't take it too hard and let yourself improve at your own rate. You know your limits, just don't push them too hard while building your fitness.

  20. #20
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    See a Dr.

    If you have a history of lung problems you should probably consult an internest. Any chest pain associated with it? Do you have an idea of your max heart rate and are you out of breath well below about 80% of it? Is sarcoidosis autoimmune and are you on some mild steroid inhalers? You're situation seems complicated enough to get a doc involved.
    "The quality of the box matters little. Success depends upon the person who sits in it."
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  21. #21
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    I bike with lung pain! Does that count?

    I've had numerous collapsed lungs and had a pretty major surgery to fix it, and am now stuck with a very sore left lung. When I ride (especially climbing) and I breathe heavy, it is pretty painful and probably around the same time you're losing your breath. Different sort of situations, but I can relate. I would definitely recommend seeing a doctor, as it's not going to do much harm to you (unless uninsured..) so it can only help.

    Good luck and hope you can enjoy riding more soon!

  22. #22
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    I'm 44 and have exercise induced asthma, environmental allergies and OSA. I have an inhaler that I take a couple puffs of about 15 minutes before I start to ride. Prior to treating it about 10 - 15 minutes into my ride I would have shortness of breath, weezing and I would be extremely fatigued. It sucked. Told my doctor about it and he gave me a inhaler. I also find it very beneficial if I begin my ride with an easy 15 minute warm-up. Although I still suck wind pretty badly on climbs...it is probably just a conditioning issue.

    Good luck.

  23. #23
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    I also had exercise/cold/city pollution/dust mite induced asthma for many years. I believe that my diet was a factor and related to the allergies and asthma. I completely cut out all dairy and grains and my asthma and allergies have improved to the point where I rarely even bother to take my ventolin blue inaher with me any more.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by roc865
    Not true dude. Inhaler only helps partially, but even if you're out of shape it shouldn't take a long time for your lungs to recover. Just wondering if anyone else out there has experiences while riding.
    Had you mentioned Sarcoidosis in your OP, this entire thread would've been different, and possibly relevent.

    What a troll.

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