Exercising for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
COPD causes decreased airflow when you breathe. It comes in two forms. Chronic bronchitis is the narrowing of small airways. It results in airflow resistance and a chronic cough. Emphysema is the breakdown of lung tissue that trades oxygen and carbon dioxide between the lungs and the blood. COPD is the most common lung disease. It affects about 24 million Americans. It also is the fourth ranked cause of death. Unfortunately, COPD is often irreversible. That does not mean you can’t delay its progress, though.
One of the main problems people with COPD experience during exercise is shortness of breath. They react by avoiding exercise, which reduces their fitness level. As a result, breathing becomes harder, and shortness of breath occurs at even lower levels of activity. Becoming more active can reverse this cycle. Exercise can help improve your muscles, heart, and circulation. This can lower the stress of exercise on your breathing. When you exercise regularly, you will have less shortness of breath, increased exercise capacity, and a better quality of life. Exercise also can help you stay active and delay the effects of COPD. The key is to choose activities that you enjoy. They will help you manage your COPD. Making exercise a normal part of your life also can have a major positive impact on your overall health.
COPD may make exercise more challenging for you. However, regular activity can improve your symptoms. Exercise also can make it easier to perform everyday tasks. There are other benefits, too. Exercise can reduce your risk of other diseases. It also can help you manage your weight, reduce anxiety and stress, sleep better, and feel more energized. The key is to find and follow a program that meets your individual needs and concerns.
Just starting out? Begin with aerobic exercise. However, if
your COPD has kept you from normal activity, you may have
a decrease in the size of your muscles. This is called muscle atrophy. It causes reduced strength, especially in the lower
limbs. Atrophy can make people with COPD so weak they can’t exercise long enough to improve their condition. If this is the case, then you may need to start with strength training. Later, you will want to do both types of exercise to improve your overall health and fitness.
reference: Exercise is Medicine