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Home > Health Library > COPD: Using Exercise to Feel Better
When you have COPD, activity and exercise can:
Upper body exercises increase strength in arm and shoulder muscles, which provide support to the rib cage. They help in daily tasks such as carrying groceries and doing housework.
Lower body exercises develop lower body muscles and will help you move around more easily for longer periods of time.
Aerobic exercise gets more oxygen to your muscles. This allows them to work longer.
Exercises for COPD can be done nearly anywhere. They are often done as part of a pulmonary rehabilitation program.
Exercises for COPD are simple to do and take little time.
If you become breathless while doing any of the exercises, rest in a position where your shoulders are supported, such as in a chair, and wait until you can breathe easily again.
Your doctor may ask that you do specific exercises and will help you figure out how often and how long to do them. You may also get help with setting your long-term exercise program goals. It may take weeks before you are able to reach your goals. But how long it takes is not as important as doing the exercises consistently.
For each exercise, either time how long you can do it or count the number of times you can do it before you are mildly out of breath. Then rest and move on to the next exercise. Each week, increase the time you spend doing each exercise or how many times you do each one.
This is a good time for stretches.
Try to breathe slowly to save your breath. Breathe in through your nose, keeping your mouth closed. This warms and moisturizes the air you breathe. Breathe out through pursed lips.
Aerobic exercises increase the amount of oxygen that is delivered to your muscles. More oxygen helps the muscles work longer. This helps you do more activities for longer periods of time.
Any exercise that raises your heart rate and keeps it up for a long time will improve your aerobic fitness. These exercises include:
Daily activities can also be aerobic. These activities include:
Talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise program. Your doctor will help you know how often and how long to exercise. You can also get help setting your long-term exercise goals.
The talk test is an easy way to check your exercise intensity.
Before starting any exercise program, talk to your health professional. They may ask that you do specific exercises and will help you decide how often and how long to do them.
Start the exercise slowly and gradually. Either keep track of how long you can do it or count the number of times you can do it before you are mildly out of breath. Then rest and move on to the next exercise. Each week, increase the amount of time you do them or how many you do.
Current as of:
March 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineKen Y. Yoneda MD - Pulmonology
Current as of: March 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Ken Y. Yoneda MD - Pulmonology
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