Pulmonary rehab is a program that can help people breathe more effectively and improve their quality of life. It is a major strategy in the hands of a medical team to treat people with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).

This program includes breathing exercises for COPD, counselling for lifestyle changes, and exercise training. Patients with COPD can benefit from regular exercise by improving their breathing and state of mind.

Why exercise?

There are many benefits of regular exercise. Exercise such as aerobic exercise helps to:

  • Enhance circulation and help in superior use of oxygen in the body
  • Combat symptoms of COPD
  • Build up energy levels such that one can indulge in more activities without being breathless.
  • strengthen the cardiovascular system
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Enhance endurance
  • Strengthen bones
  • Enhance strength and tone of muscles
  • Enhance flexibility and balance of joints
  • Reduce body weight and maintain a healthy weight
  • Lower anxiety, tension, stress, and depression
  • Enhance sleep
  • Boost self-image and self-esteem
  • Make one relaxed and rested

Talk first with a medical advisor

Before beginning an exercise program, it is important to talk with your medical or health care provider. They can help you to find a program that matches your physical condition and fitness level.

Ask them the following questions:

  • How often should one exercise in a week?
  • How much exercise to do in a day?
  • What kind of exercise to do?
  • How to tailor medication around the exercise schedule?
  • What kind of activities to avoid?

Types of exercise

There are 3 basic kinds of exercise:

This includes slow stretching of muscles. When you stretch your legs and arms before and after the main exercise program, the muscles are prepared for activity and help in preventing muscle strain and injury. When stretching is done regularly, it helps enhance the flexibility and range of motion of the patient.

  • Aerobic or cardiovascular exercise

This involves steady physical activities making use of big groups of muscles. Such kind of exercise strengthens the lungs and heart and enhances the capacity of the body for using oxygen. With the passage of time, aerobic exercise helps to lower blood pressure and heart rate and enhance one’s breathing. Such exercise includes jumping rope, jogging, walking, cross-country skiing, bicycling, rowing, skating, and low impact water aerobics.

This involves repeating muscle contractions or tightening till muscles become tired. Such exercises for the upper body are particularly beneficial for COPD patients since they help to strengthen respiratory muscles.

How often to exercise?

Generally, to get the maximum benefit, it is necessary to work slowly up to an exercise session for 20 to 30 minutes, at least 3 or 4 times a week. It is also good to have a regular schedule by exercising every other day.

Value of pulmonary rehab

This is not simply an exercise program. It is a special program that includes nutrition advice, exercise training, counselling, and training to manage COPD symptoms. This rehab program adopts a team approach- typically; the team consists of nurses, doctors, dieticians, respiratory therapists, and physiotherapists.

They work together to manage different aspects of the program. The goal is to improve the quality of life of the patient. Consult the medical team about nuances like breathing techniques for COPD.

Oxygen therapy

The good news is you can still work out when you're on oxygen therapy. Mostly, oxygen therapy will not interfere with routine activities. Several patients undergoing oxygen therapy are able to dance, bike, and lift weights. But some COPD patients need extra oxygen during exercise. Some others require oxygen all the time. Whatever the case, the medical team can offer pointers on the right kind of exercise, especially when one is on oxygen therapy.

Checklist for exercises

  • Consult a physician or medical team before beginning any exercise program. They can help determine what type of exercise is ideal and can even offer medication before exercise.
  • Always go for activities that you love. If you do exercise programs that you like, you're more likely to keep doing them.
  • Learning breathing techniques for COPD will help in enhancing chances of success and sticking with an exercise program.
  • Steer clear of triggers for COPD, which are things that can set off the disease. Such triggers include humid air, cold, wind, pollution, fumes, chemicals, and smog. To avoid such triggers, you can exercise indoors like at home.
  • Set goals and an exercise schedule. If you are a beginner to exercise, you can start with a 10-minute walking routine around your home and gradually build from there.
  • Let's take it slow! In case you feel unwell or dizzy, stop right there and take a rest. It's going to take time to achieve fitness goals, especially if you're new to the program.
  • Take pride in small steps. By taking up small steps to enhance one’s fitness, one is making life with COPD more comfortable and enjoyable.

In sum, living with COPD includes making adjustments, and an important part is making room for physical exercise. Though activities like breathing exercises for COPD are challenging, they can offer benefits that are impossible to accomplish with only medical treatment.

Author's Bio: 

Hi, I am Aria. I am a passionate blogger. Blogging is my profession. I love to write articles on several topics. Keep up the good work and Have a great day!