Although lung damage cannot be reversed, regular exercise can significantly improve your quality of life. Here are some tips that will help strengthen your respiratory muscles and ease your exertion. Don’t forget: Persistence is key in order to see results.
Important note! Please make sure to check-in with your doctor before starting any type of new exercise.
- Warm-ups and stretching: Stretching before and after any exercise reduces stress on muscles and prepares them for higher level activity. The Lung Institute recommends stretching the sides, neck, thighs, and lower back every day.
- Endurance training: Including aerobic/endurance exercises like walking, swimming, skating, jogging, and bicycling in your weekly routine will improve your body’s ability to use oxygen.
- Muscle training: Exercises for the upper body are vital to strengthening the heart, lungs, and surrounding respiratory muscles as well as improving hand-eye coordination and balance. Free weights and resistance bands can be used.
- Breathing exercises: Follow the American Lung Association’s belly breathing exercises. If done regularly, it will help ease physical exertion.
- Meditation: With regular practice, you can manage your breathing more effectively, improve your sleep patterns, and relax your nervous system. Recommended meditations by the Lung Health Institute are Mantra Meditation, Mindfulness Meditation, Focused Meditation, Movement Meditation, and Spiritual Meditation.
- Corhay, Jean-Louis, et al. “Pulmonary Rehabilitation and COPD: Providing Patients a Good Environment for Optimizing Therapy.” International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Dove Medical Press, 2014, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3869834/
- “COPD Guidelines For Exercise & Pulmonary Rehab.” Cleveland Clinic, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/9450-copd-exercise--activity-guidelines
- “Top 3 Exercises for COPD Patients.” SmartVest Airway Clearance System, 2 Apr. 2020, smartvest.com/3-exercises-for-copd-patients/
- “Physical Activity and COPD.” American Lung Association, www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/copd/living-with-copd/physical-activity
- “Lung Health Institute: 5 Types of Daily Meditation for COPD.” Lung Health Instititute, 4 Apr. 2014, lunginstitute.com/blog/5-types-of-daily-meditation-for-copd/