The Importance of Exercise for COPD Patients

If you have COPD, breathing may already be difficult, but exercise for COPD patients can make breathing easier in your day-to-day life.

Counteract your breathing troubles with stronger lungs. Exercising your body, heart, and lungs will create strength in your lungs and will also create stronger muscles that will make your daily activities easier. Keep reading to learn more about how exercise can help you with your COPD.

How to Exercise with COPD

Your recommended exercise regimen with COPD will vary based on the severity of your case. If you have mild COPD, you'll be able to do more strenuous exercises—such as jogging, skating, and rowing. However, if you need a lower impact exercise, you might try water aerobics. This will work your muscles without too much heavy breathing—plus, it's easy on the joints. Depending on your situation, you may need to avoid certain exercises. Consult with your doctor about what intensity of exercise is right for you.

There are many workout options for COPD. Here's a list we put together that most COPD patients can do: 

  • Walking - Walking is a safe exercise for COPD patients. Even a slow pace can do you some good. If walking distances is daunting for you, try adding more time in increments each day or each week. If you walk every day and add 30 seconds each day, you'll increase your walking time and distance in no time! 
  • Stationary bike - Riding a stationary bike is another great option for COPD patients. You can take this at your own pace, it's easy on your joints, and you can easily take breaks as needed. 
  • Lifting weights - Using weights can be another good workout for you. Choose hand weights that suit you and practice some arm curls—slowly raising your arms up and down—breath in as you lift and out as you release. You can also practice forward arm raises with your hand weights. Make sure to choose weights that are light and comfortable at first, then add more weight as you get stronger. 
  • Leg workouts - To add to your workout a little more—move to your legs with some calf raises. This is a simple exercise that you can do anywhere. Stand with your legs hip-width apart, slowly rise onto your toes, hold briefly, and lower, using your body weight to workout your muscles. As you get stronger, you can do one leg at a time. 

Not only will weights and bodyweight exercises help you develop stronger muscles, but they can also help you with your breathing exercises as you learn when to breathe out and in during your workouts.

Be sure to include stretching before and after your workout. Stretching will help you avoid injury and sore muscles. It will also help your muscles become stronger and more flexible over time.

Please note that if you find that you have an irregular heartbeat, you're feeling dizzy, or you cannot catch your breath, you should stop exercising and seek medical attention. Consult with your doctor to determine what exercises are and are not safe for you.  

Breathing During Exercise for COPD Patients 

Breathing well during exercise is key to a good workout, whether you have COPD or not. Breathe slowly, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. More than anything, try to keep control of your breathing. If you start panting, air will get trapped in your lungs. If you find that your breathing is getting too fast and too shallow, try to slow your breathing through breathing exercises.

Some exercises for COPD patients might require the help of oxygen. Ask your doctor if you should be on oxygen while working out. If you do need your oxygen concentrator going while you work out, use an extra-long tube and a lightweight, travel-size concentrator so you can have the ability to do most exercises.

Breathe Right with O2 Assist 

At O2 Assist, we have such a wide selection of portable concentrators that are perfect for those seeking exercise for COPD patients. We believe that oxygen therapy is essential to your well-being; that's why when you buy one of our concentrators, you'll be connected to a personal oxygen specialist that will be there to answer any questions about your oxygen device. When you do these exercises coupled with your diagnosed oxygen therapy, you're sure to start feeling like a new version of yourself. If you're interested in starting oxygen care, contact your healthcare provider to learn more. And when it's to buy, make sure to browse our extensive collection of stationary and portable oxygen concentrators.