Exercising is an important part of everybody’s health — including those living with COPD and other lung conditions. Finding an exercise program or routine that works for you and finding the right balance is very important. Before you start your work out regimen and read this article, take some time to read Part 1 and Part 2 of this series.
Knowing When to Exercise and When to Not
When deciding if you are healthy enough to exercise, it is best to listen to (1) your doctor and (2) your body. If you are feeling tired, shaky, down or depressed, or lazy, you are probably okay to exercise. If you have a headache or are busy, you are more than likely safe to exercise. If you are feeling nauseous, experiencing chest or leg pain, are out of breath, or have strep or a fever, do no exercise and call your doctor. If you are experiencing symptoms you don’t typically experience, call your doc first before exercising.
When to Use Your Oxygen
If you are currently using oxygen therapy, it is imperative that you exercise with your oxygen unless otherwise stated by your doctor. Prior to beginning your exercise routine, you will be prescribed an oxygen flow rate you should use during your workouts. This flow rate will likely differ from your “stationary” flow rate. Your doctor will fill you in on the details, but about five or so minutes before you start your work out, you will adjust your flow rate to the prescribed “activity” level. If you feel like you are not getting enough oxygen throughout your work out, talk to your doctor before you change your flow rate. Do not adjust your flow rate without consulting your doctor first.
Enjoy the Journey
Getting the “go ahead” from your doctor to exercise is very exciting! This means you are healthy enough and that your body can take on higher levels of activity. Try your best to enjoy your exercise journey and do your best to stay motivated. Some people find encouragement to continue exercising by recording their progress, finding a workout buddy, or setting goals for themselves. The key to success, for many people, is to find a routine that works for you; finding a way to get active that you enjoy and that is fun for you. You are much more likely to stick with it if you like it.
Always Talk to Your Doctor
As previously mentioned many times, it is very important to talk to your doctor about your exercise routine. It’s so important that we are mentioning it several times. Keep an open dialogue going with your doc and as any questions or concerns arise, be sure to address them as soon as possible. You don’t need to wait for an upcoming appointment to get answers. Call with any and all concerns the moment they come up. It is much better to have a clear picture and to completely understand your situation than to be sorry.