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I Started Exercising To Avoid Having Asthma Attacks

And it's working.
PHOTO: istockphoto

Even though I was born with asthma, I lived the first 20 years of my life without any major attacks. I think I was rushed to the ER once when I was around nine years old, but I barely remember that. The downside is I can’t say for sure what my “triggers” are. It could be: dust, pollen, food, stress, or the weather.

To be fair, when I was 12, my family and I moved to Singapore—arguably the cleanest country in Asia, if not the world. After high school, I attended college in northern California, which was, again, relatively clean. Fast forward four years: I moved back to Manila.

That’s when I started getting really bad asthma attacks.

The doctors told me that because I’ll always have this condition, I have to use inhalers for maintenance. I also now have a nebulizer in my condo. But because I lived the first two decades of my life without having these attacks (and because I’m stubborn), I wanted to figure out a way to avoid relying on medicine so much.

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People suggested I take up swimming, but that was never going to happen because I absolutely detest the water. So I turned to running instead.

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My first attempt was with the Nike+ running community. It was a Tuesday night, and we ran around BGC. I’m not going to lie: It was fucking hard. I wanted to give up right after the warm up. It was also incredibly intimidating because there were actual athletes there. But the vibe was honestly so open. Plus, there was always somebody there running alongside me—without any judgment.

The next best thing to running with the group is the Nike+ Run Club (NRC) app, which I downloaded that same night. In general, I don’t like working out with people because that usually means having to engage in conversation from time to time—something I physically cannot do while I’m panting like a dog.

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The app was great because it was flexible. I could adjust my running schedule whenever I had to work late and was unable to go to the gym. And even though I was running on a treadmill (read: sayang ‘yung sobrang mahal kong gym membership), NRC “tracked” my run so I had a record of my progress.

My favorite part, however, is the built-in coach. Someone was literally cheering me on. And they really got creative with it: One time, I was “running” on a mountain. LOL! And that coach knew when I was slowing down because I totally got called out for it. I’m not going to lie: I’m not a marathoner (yet), but I’m able to run longer these days without wanting to drop dead so let’s see where this goes...because anything is better than swimming.

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