COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and Exercise:
Breathing and Exercise Programs for COPD
If you have trouble breathing, exercise may be the last thing you feel like doing. But exercises for COPD can help your breathing, allowing you to stay as active as possible and improving your quality of life.
Exercise -- especially exercise that works your lungs and heart -- has many benefits for those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Exercise can:
These four types of exercises can be helpful even if you do not suffer with COPD. Try each exercise without exertion and Relax. Before starting these programs, consult with your health care provider.
Stretching exercises lengthen your muscles, increasing your flexibility. Stretching can also help prepare your muscles for other types of exercise, decreasing your chance of injury. It is an important part of the program.
1. Relax your neck and shoulder muscles.
2. Breathe in for two seconds through your nose, keeping your mouth closed.
3. Breathe out for four seconds through pursed lips. If this is too long for you, simply breathe out twice as long as you breathe in.
Use pursed-lip breathing while exercising. If you experience shortness of breath, first try slowing your rate of breathing and focus on breathing out through pursed lips.
1. Lie on your back with knees bent. You can put a pillow under your knees for support.
2. Place one hand on your belly below your rib cage. Place the other hand on your chest.
3. Inhale deeply through your nose for a count of 3. (Your belly and lower ribs should rise, but your chest should remain still.)
4. Tighten your stomach muscles and exhale for a count of 6 through slightly puckered lips.
You may find that it helps to exercise at the same time each day; late morning or early afternoon may be a time when you have more energy. Here are some other basic guidelines for exercise when you have COPD:
- Set realistic goals.
- Gradually increase the number of minutes and days you exercise. A good goal is to exercise 20 to 40 minutes, two to four times a week.
- Start out slow. Warm up for a few minutes.
- Choose activities you enjoy, but vary them to help you stay motivated.
- Find an exercise partner.
- Keep a record of your exercise to help you stay on track.
- As you end your exercise, cool down by moving more slowly.
It's good to take precautions when exercising with COPD, but remember that shortness of breath doesn't always mean you should stop altogether. Instead, slow down and continue exercising. If shortness of breath becomes severe, then stop exercising.
Here are other exercise precautions:
Exercises to avoid when you have COPD:
Ask your doctor whether exercises like weight lifting, jogging, or swimming are OK for you to do when you have COPD.
COPD and Exercise: When to Stop
If you experience any of these signs or symptoms, stop your COPD exercise program right away. Sit down and keep your feet raised while resting. If you don't feel better quickly, call your doctor.
The FIRST RULE ALWAYS – Listen to your Body!