Staying Active with COPD

Everyone knows exercise should be a part of any healthy lifestyle. When you have COPD, difficulties breathing make it hard to understand how staying active is possible. Believe it or not, exercising your body and learning how to breathe better when you have COPD has many benefits. For one, it makes it easier to breathe. Here’s how.

Living with COPD can be exhausting

Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Pulmonary rehabilitation is an education program combined with exercise to increase awareness about your lungs and your disease. During pulmonary rehab, patients learn everything they need to know about lung anatomy, physiology, and breathing techniques. You also learn medication management, which includes the best time of day to take medications. You will learn to achieve exercise with less shortness of breath. In summary, the skills and knowledge learned in this program will help you feel better and manage your chronic lung disease that also helps:

  • Raise exercise tolerance
  • Promote a sense of well-being
  • Reduce the number of hospitalizations

Exercises for the Muscles to Include

As a part of pulmonary rehabilitation, specific exercises improve your body’s ability to use oxygen, help you sleep better, and raises energy levels. Below are some types of activities that are generally good for people with COPD:

  • Stretching: Involves a slow lengthening of the muscles. Stretching before and after activity helps prepare your muscles and prevent injury and strain on them. If done regularly, it also increases flexibility and range of motion.
  • Cardio: Involves steady activity using your large muscle groups. It strengthens the heart and lungs and improves your ability to use oxygen. Over time, cardio exercises can help decrease your heart rate and blood pressure and improve your breathing.
    • Exercises include: walking, jogging, jumping rope, cycling, skating, rowing, and low-impact aerobics or water aerobics.
  • Strengthening: This involves contracting the muscles repeatedly until they become tired. Upper body strengthening exercises are beneficial for people with COPD since they help in strengthening your respiratory muscles.

The American Heart Association recommends exercising for at least 30 minutes a day, 5-7 times per week. Talk with your doctor before beginning any exercise regimen to ensure any restrictions are covered.

Just because you can't see COPD, doesn't mean it's not there.

 COPD symptoms can persist, despite education and exercise, so ensuring effective options for all patients are the focus of clinical research studies here at Florida Institute for Clinical Research. Learn more about enrolling in COPD studies by calling us at (407) 658-0966 or visit our website.


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