Managing COPD with exercise
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
Muscle strength and endurance
Ability to sleep and relax
Self confidence, self esteem and body image
Quality of life
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
Risk factors of heart and other disease
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.