Exercise helps improve your circulation and help the body better use oxygen. Decreasing your resting heart rate and blood pressure can improve your breathing. Improved circulation lets your body use oxygen more efficiently. Building endurance decreases shortness of breath. Here are some exercising tips for COPD patients.
- Exercise to Breathe Easier
Weak muscles need more oxygen, so you can become short of breath just shopping or cooking. Exercise changes that. When your muscles are stronger, daily activities are easier.
Walking is a great choice, especially if you’re just getting started. Do it anywhere — outside, in a mall, on a treadmill. If it seems daunting, add 30 seconds or 10 yards each day. Even a slow pace will do you good.
- Exercise Your Diaphragm
Lie down with your knees bent or sit in an easy chair — one hand on your chest, one below your rib cage. Slowly inhale through your nose so that your stomach raises one hand. Exhale with pursed lips and tighten your stomach. The hand on your chest should not move. Do this for 5 to 10 minutes, three or four times a day.
- Schedule a Stretch
Stretch gently before and after a workout. One stretch to try: Put your hands flat on a wall at arm’s length and shoulder height. Step forward and bend your right knee. Bend your left knee until you feel a slight stretch in your calf. It shouldn’t hurt. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds and repeat with left leg.
- Make Exercise a Habit
The goal for most people is to exercise for 20 to 30 minutes, at least three times a week. Include cardio and strength training. If you’re out of shape, start a level that’s comfortable — even if it’s just one minute.
- When Not to Exercise
Give yourself a day off if your COPD symptoms are acting up: you’re wheezing, coughing up more fluids than usual, or are unusually short of breath. You may want to talk to your doctor.