Chronic lung diseases like COPD, asthma and tuberculosis make it difficult to breathe. In turn, this may limit how active you are and how much you exercise. However, it’s extremely important to remain active, even if you suffer from lung disease. Staying active and exercising regularly can help reduce shortness of breath and increase energy – Resulting in an overall healthier you.
Aerobic exercises can help condition your muscles and help your body use oxygen better and these low-impact ones are perfect for those with chronic lung disease:
The Wave: This exercise is designed to be done with your arms above your head. If you have difficulty with this, try it with your arms out in front of you.
- Inhale. Then while exhaling, lift both arms over your head.
- Wave your arms from one side to the other until you’re done exhaling. Don’t twist.
- Inhale while returning to starting position. Exhale as you repeat the wave.
- Relax your neck and shoulder muscles. Inhale slowly through your nose for at least 2 counts.
- Pucker your lips as if to blow out a candle. Exhale slowly and gently through your pursed lips for at least twice as long as you inhaled.
Walking: Using a treadmill or regular walking on a level surface.
- If you’re using a treadmill, ensure that you understand how it works. Then, begin walking at a comfortable pace.
- Do pursed-lip breathing as instructed above while walking.
- As you get stronger, increase your pace and/or distance. If you’re on a treadmill, you may also want to consider increasing the elevation. Regular walkers can add hills or other inclines into their routine.
Ride a Stationary Bike:
- Adjust the seat on the stationary bike so that your knees are only slightly bent with the pedals at their lowest point.
- Pedal at a comfortable pace while doing pursed-lip breathing to make breathing easier.
- As you get stronger, increase the speed at which you pedal or the resistance on the stationary bike.
Before you begin an exercise regimen, it’s important to talk with your doctor. If you have any type of heart condition, like high blood pressure or coronary artery disease, your exercise options may be limited. Your doctor will be able to help you determine what level of exercise is right for you. If you use oxygen, remember to wear it while you exercise and talk to your doctor about adjusting your prescription based on your activity level.With all of the exercises listed above, it’s important not to push yourself too much. Do what’s comfortable for you and only increase speed, distance or time when you, or a respiratory therapist, feel you’re ready.