Updated: September 3, 2019 1:20:54 pm
Regular exercise is a vital part of good lifestyle practices, even if you have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) — which is defined as a chronic inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs. Concept of ‘exercise while suffering from COPD’ can be scary for patients and one might feel it is not safe, or even imaginable to exercise. “But the right amount and form of exercise has many rewards. Learning the basics of exercising when you have COPD will help you live a healthier life. It is always advisable to start slow and gradually build up on the intensity of the exercise. Make sure you have taken your prescribed medications appropriately,” says Dr Preyas Vaidya, Consultant Pulmonologist, SL Raheja Hospital, Mahim – A Fortis Associate.
Why you must exercise?
Physical activity can help people with COPD in many ways, including:
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*Allowing your body to use the oxygen you breathe more efficiently
*Increasing energy levels and decreasing weakness
*Strengthens muscle function
*Increasing capability to walk long distances
*Decrease in shortness of breath
*Cultivating cognitive function
*Boosting your overall quality of life
Types of exercises:
1. Cardio: As you move constantly during cardio, it helps increase the heart rate and causes your body to sweat. Also known as aerobic exercise, it is good for your lungs as it strengthens and makes them more efficient. Start off with low intensity exercises, as breathing may be challenging. Walking is a great option, especially when you’re just getting started. Start off with short walks – outside your home or on a treadmill. If it looks daunting, add 40 seconds of walk each day; even a slow start will do you good.
2. Cycling: Start pedalling in the privacy of your home or in a gym. Ask the trainer before jumping into a group cycling class; to be sure it matches your ability. As you progress, try a swirl outside on a traditional bike.
3. Deep inhaling: “It is a key technique used to strengthen your diaphragm, which is the breathing muscle. Lie down with your knees bent and place one hand on your chest and the other below your rib cage. Gently inhale through your nose which will cause your stomach to raise one hand; exhale by pursing your lips and tightening your stomach. The hand on your chest should remain motionless. If your do this 3-4 times a day for 5 to 10 minutes, your breathing will ease and you will soon be able to do this automatically,” explains Dr Vaidya.
Identifying signs of overexertion:
Discontinue exercising if you notice any of the following signs:
*Unusual level of shortness of breath
*Stiffness or heaviness in your chest
*Rapid increase of the heart beat
*Feeling more tired than usual
Lastly check with your doctor before preparing an exercise program. If any exercise makes you short of
breath, stop and rest for a few minutes.
📣 The above article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional for any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.
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