Managing COPD with exercise

lady breathless image credit: Dr Ramon Martos

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) includes a number of conditions such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis and chronic asthma, which isn’t fully reversible. COPD affects one in seven Australians aged 40 and over and it is the second leading cause of avoidable hospital admissions.

Individuals with COPD who aren’t physically active experience more frequent exacerbations, hospitalisations and increased mortality rates. COPD is associated with feelings of breathlessness and a reduced functional capacity however it is still possible to exercise and achieve benefits!

For individuals with COPD exercise helps to improve:

  • Cardiovascular capacity and endurance

  • Energy levels

  • Immune strength

  • Muscle strength and endurance

  • Ability to sleep and relax

  • Bone density

  • Self confidence, self esteem and body image

  • Quality of life

  • Functional capacity

  • Sense of control over the condition

For individuals with COPD exercise helps to reduce:

  • Breathlessness and the sensation of breathlessness

  • Ventilatory requirement at a given work rate

  • Hyperinflation

  • Risk factors of heart and other disease

  • Blood pressure

  • Side effects of medicine

  • Anxiety and depression

Research has shown that ongoing exercise programs have had a significant effect on managing COPD and symptoms associated, and improving individual’s quality of life. Supervised exercise programs include extended warm up and cool down periods, aerobic and strength training at a moderate intensity and regular rest breaks. Individuals are encouraged to work at their own pace.

#COPD #chronicobstructivepulmonarydisease #managingCOPDwithexercise #breathlessness

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