People with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) have breathing difficulties, which can make them feel unable to exercise. However, your doctor may encourage physical activity as it may improve breathing shortage and other symptoms of COPD. On the other side, inactivity can lead to a decrease in cardiovascular function and muscle mass. Every time you exert yourself, you may discover yourself breathless.
Exercise with COPD
People living with COPD should check with their doctor before beginning any fresh form of exercise. If you have moderate to serious COPD, your doctor may refer you to a pulmonary rehabilitation program. If you are using oxygen, your doctor may also provide directions on how to increase your oxygen flow rate during exercise to guarantee that your body gets sufficient oxygen. It is useful to practice breathing exercise for people living with COPD before starting an exercise routine. This can help facilitate and make physical exertion more convenient. Next, choose an exercise or activity you really appreciate. Cardio exercise is an excellent option, which can strengthen the heart, lungs, and breathing muscles. The following exercises may be best for people with COPD:
- jumping rope
Before training, always warm-up and stretch and then cool down. This will reduce your joint stress. Start slowly and gradually improve your workout intensity and length. You could start with an aim of up to 30 minutes four times a week. (1, 2, 3)
RPE (rated perceived exertion) Scale
The rating of perceived exertion (RPE) is a method of determining the intensity level of physical activity. Perceived exertion is the amount of effort you believe your body is putting forth. For a particular physical activity, it’s an effortless way to rate your own difficulty level. This can help you monitor your own effort, stay in the safe area, and monitor your own progress. (4)
Risk factors for COPD
Smoking causes up to 90% of COPD cases. But there are other variables that can also play a part. Long-term exposure to certain kinds of dust, chemicals, and fumes may also increase the danger. COPD may develop in people who have never smoked or had pollutant exposure. The disease may also develop if there is a deficiency of a certain protein in your blood. If this protein is missing from your body, your white blood cells may attack your lungs, causing harm to the lungs. (5)
Once you are diagnosed with COPD, take prescription medication to regulate symptoms and enhance your breathing. The doctors prescribe different medicine, such as pills, bronchodilators, and corticosteroids. These medicines can relax and decrease inflammation in the muscles around your airway. You may need oxygen therapy to guarantee that there is enough oxygen in your bloodstream, depending on the severity of your condition. (6)
The proper exercise can ease COPD symptoms and improve quality of life. But before you start any fresh exercise routine, speak to your doctor. They can provide you with specific information on how to workout safely based on your health profile.
- COPD: Exercise & Activity Guidelines. Cleveland Clinic.
- Exercise for Someone with COPD. COPD Foundation.
- Physical Activity and COPD. American Lung Association.
- Perceived Exertion (Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion Scale). CDC.
- COPD Causes and Risk Factors. American Lung association.
- COPD: Medications. Cleveland Clinic.