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Ease Into Fitness

May 18, 2018
Tips on Doing Everyday Activities Safely

Regular exercise has many benefits, especially for people living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In addition to helping improve COPD symptoms, exercise may also:

  • Improve your circulation and help the body use oxygen better.
  • Build up your energy levels, so you can do more activities without becoming tired or short of breath.
  • Strengthen your heart and cardiovascular system.
  • Lower your blood pressure.
  • Improve muscle tone and strength; improve balance and joint flexibility.
  • Strengthen bones.
  • Help reduce stress, tension, anxiety, and depression.
Before starting an exercise program, talk with your doctor. Exercising every other day will help you keep a regular schedule. Use these tips when doing the following activities to build your fitness.

 

Walking

  • Start with a short walk, and go as far as you can before you become breathless.
  • As you inhale, count the number of steps you take. Then exhale for twice as many steps. For example, if you inhale while taking two steps, exhale while taking the next four steps.
  • Try to gradually increase your walking distance. If you set specific goals, you’ll find that you can go farther every day. Many people have found that an increase of 10 feet a day is a good goal.

Stair Climbing

  • Hold the handrail lightly to keep your balance and help yourself climb.
  • Place your whole foot flat on each step. Step up while breathing out. Go up two steps with each exhalation.
  • Inhale while taking a rest before the next step.
  • Going down stairs is much easier. Hold the handrail and place each foot flat on the step. As you inhale, count the number of steps you take, and take twice as many steps while exhaling.

Talk to your doctor if you feel you can’t meet your exercise goals. Pulmonary rehabilitation may be an option for some people. This type of program can help you learn how to breathe more easily and improve your quality of life.