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Do you have COPD? Here’s how you can still exercise

Regular exercise is a vital part of good lifestyle practices, even if you have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). The COPD is a chronic inflammatory lung disease which causes an obstruction in the airflow from the lungs.

The concept of ‘exercise while suffering from COPD’ is scary for such patients. One may feel like it is not safe, or even imaginable to exercise, but the right amount and exercise has many rewards. Learning the basics of exercising when you have COPD will get you well on your way to living a healthier lifestyle.

It is always advisable to start slow and gradually build upon the intensity of the exercise. Make sure you have taken your prescribed medications appropriately. Following are some exercises for patients with COPD to live a healthy life.

Why exercise? Physical activity can help people with COPD in many ways, including:

  • Allowing your body to use the oxygen more efficiently
  • Increasing energy levels and decreasing weakness
  • Strengthens muscle function
  • Increasing the stamina to walk long distances
  • The decrease in shortness of breath
  • Cultivating cognitive function
  • Boosting your overall quality of life

Types of Exercises:

Cardio: As you move during cardio, it helps to increase the heart rate and causes your body to sweat. Also known as aerobic exercise, this is good for your Lungs, as it strengthens and makes them more efficient. Start-off with low-intensity exercises, as breathing may be challenging.

Walking is a great option, especially when you’re just getting started. Start with short walks, in the vicinity or on a treadmill. If it looks daunting, add 40 seconds each day, even a slow start will do good.

Cycling: Start cycling at home or in the gym. Ask the trainer before jumping into a group cycling class; to be sure it matches your ability. As you progress, try a swirl outside on a traditional bike.

Deep inhaling: A key technique used to strengthen your Diaphragm which is the breathing muscle.

Lie down with your knees bent and place one hand on your chest and the other below your rib cage. Gently inhale through your nose which will cause your stomach to raise one hand; exhale by pursing your lips and tightening your stomach. The hand on your chest should remain motionless.

If you do this 3-4 times a day for 5 to 10mins, your breathing will ease, and you will soon be able to do this automatically.

Identifying signs of overexertion: Discontinue exercising if you notice any of the following signs:

  • An unusual level of shortness of breath
  • Chest uneasiness
  • Stiffness or heaviness in your chest
  • The rapid increase of the heartbeat
  • Light-headedness
  • Nausea
  • Feeling more tired than usual

Lastly, check with your doctor before preparing an exercise program. If any exercise makes you short of breath, stop and rest for a few minutes.

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