Before doing any exercise program consult with your physician to make sure you can do it!
Okay, so you're now on your new asthma drugs (like Singulair) and need to get back into shape. Here is what I did. If you're anything like me you spent the better part of 40 years unable to really exercise because you basically couldn't breathe. Your muscles are not used to doing much except lugging your heavy weight around.
First off, you probably also take some steroidal nasal spray. I find it really causes my sinuses to run. Get a sinus rinse. I found one at my local Walgreens. The sinus rinse is basically a small plastic pot that you fill with saline solution and clear out the nostrils. Do this before exercising and you'll enjoy it so much more.
Next thing is to dedicate yourself to doing this. I found that trying to exercise in the evenings was impossible. I am generally spent after work and too tired to do anything. Plus, spending time with the wife is more interesting than exercise. I had to find a time that worked and I find that getting up earlier worked the best. Yup, 5am. That gives me time to wake up and get out of the house by 6am which leaves plenty of time to exercise. Conversely, that means going to bed earlier in order to get enough sleep. Melatonin is your friend here. Pop one around 7pm and you'll be ready to sleep by 9pm. Add a glass or two of wine and you could find 8:30pm very doable. One thing I noticed is that during the winter months I didn't have to worry about sunscreen since sunrise often occurred after I finished my run. But once spring/summer came along I found that I easily got caught out in the sun. Sunscreen is a must because you are going to be spending a lot of time outside and it is important to protect your skin.
For all of this excercise plan get a good pedometer. I found the Omtron at Walmart and it worked the best out of all the ones I tried. It is a little pricier but the $5 pedometers are a waste of money.
Here is the plan I followed once I got onto Singulair. Depending on your asthma level YMMV but hopefully you can use this as a base for your plan.
This plan is based not on speed or distance but time. The amount of time you spend on the exercise is more important than either the intensity or the speed at which you do this. So, don't worry about intensity until you're down to within 20-30 pounds of your ideal weight for your height. Focus on the amount of time you spend exercising.
In addition, ignore the scale. Weighing yourself can be depressing especially when you hit a plateau. I hit a plateau where for three months I was losing no weight yet I had lost 4 inches off my waist. Avoid weighing yourself if at all possible. When I am losing weight I won't weigh myself more than once a week (typically on Saturday). If I hit a plateau I switch to every other week or even once a month. Until I see that I'm losing weight again I do not go back to the weekly weighing schedule.
Change your diet to a high fiber diet. I know, it goes against the low carb craze but low carb is not good for you and a high fiber diet is now thought to help with diseases like diverticulosis. Believe me, you don't want to get diverticulosis because it leads to diverticulitis which hurts a lot! So start eating granola, oatmeal and high fiber breads (those with 8 grams or more).
Day zero (start) to about 3 months
Walking. Basically you want to walk as long as you can to start. Slowly, once a week, try to lengthen your walk by one or two blocks. When you get to 62 mins on your walk for a couple of weeks you've reached the goal for this phase and can move on to the next phase.
Walk every day of the week. You are only allowed to take a day off for really, really bad weather. Otherwise you are out there every morning.
Weight loss during this phase about 10-20 pounds. Walking is too low intensity to really lose any weight but the goal for phase one is not about losing weight but building up strength in those muscles you haven't used for decades.
3 months - 9 months
You need to start stretching before exercising from here on out.
Start running the last 3 blocks of the walk. Again, slowly once a week try to start running a block or two earlier than the previous week. Eventually get to the point where you run the same walk that took you 62 mins. Again, don't worry about the speed of your running/jogging. I had speed walkers passing me during this phase. I focused on spending the time. How often should you run? I tried to keep to at least 5 days a week during the early parts of this phase.
Eventually you'll find that you are improving on the time it takes for the run/jog. You'll eventually fall to the point where you're spending less than 40 mins. It is time to get your time back up. Just as before, increase the distance you run by a few blocks each week. Get the route up to the point where you're back at 62 mins. In this part of the phase I tried to keep close to 7 day a week schedule but with bad weather I more often had 5-6 days per week.
Sometime, once you reliably get to 62 mins on your regular daily run, during this phase perhaps once a week or once every other week you should try to do a 90+ minute run (I max out at 97 mins). Do this only on a weekend and when you first do this plan for nap time in the afternoon. It took me a a few months before I could do the 90 min run without needing a nap in the afternoon. Longer runs also mean more risk of jogger's nipple which seems to be well documented outside the USA. Although if you run into this see your doctor since it could also be breast cancer. A Band-Aid (plaster), I find the "flexible fabric" style works best for me, is the easiest way to prevent the problem with a couple of strips of waterproof tape to help hold it in place.
Weight loss during this phase is unpredictable. I hit plateaus yet I was losing inches around my waist. Don't weigh yourself too often during this phase. Much like phase one this phase is more about building up the strength in those muscles.
Once you've been able to go 3-4 weeks (not contiguous) of 7day/week running or you can do the 90 mins run without needing a nap you're ready for the next phase.
9 months to 15 months
This is the phase is where weight starts to peel off. Your running time should also be improving and you find that you periodically have to keep increasing your distance to keep the time at 62+ mins. I also make sure that I have several hills in the daily run to try and increase the level of exercise for the legs and butt.
The once a week 90 min run should also need adjustments to keep the time over the 93 min mark.
Weight loss seems to be steadier in this phase than the first two. Although plateaus do still happen they tend not to take more than a month to break through.
End of Current Plan
That is the end of my plan because I am at the 15 month mark after starting Singulair. I don't think I am a particularly fast runner. Though I think a speed walker would have a hard time passing me like they could when I was in month #8. You can see from my other blog posts on the changes I've made to my route to keep my time up.
I also found during the latter part of Phase 2 that an MP3 player and good music was helpful in holding a pace.
I did start using a heart rate monitor. When the weather got warmer I had to quit wearing it because I developed a rash where the chest strap was. Nothing I tried would stop the rash and finally not wearing the HRM was the only way to stop it. I guess I might start wearing it again when it cools off but right now I have my eye on the Garmin Forerunner 205 which looks really impressive. Maybe I'll get one in about a month.