Read Time: 4 minutes

What Does COPD Do To The Body?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) affects the lung’s airways, making breathing difficult. COPD leads to two other conditions: chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Chronic bronchitis restricts the airways and causes excess mucus buildup. Emphysema is a disease that destroys the lung’s air sacs. People with COPD often have to deal with complications from either one of these diseases.

The importance of exercise

Activity is vital for people with COPD because a lack of physical activity can affect a person’s health and overall quality of life. COPD symptoms can even become worse. To start, COPD patients should enroll in pulmonary rehabilitation. This is a program with a team of doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, dietitians, physical therapists, and exercise specialists.
These professionals help people with COPD learn special breathing techniques and exercises, and develop treatment plans to make life with COPD easier. Pulmonary rehabilitation begins with an assessment from a therapist to determine different things about the patient, like blood oxygen levels. Programs are conducted at hospitals, outpatient clinics, or the patient’s home.

Stretching for people with COPD

People with COPD will benefit from lots of stretching. Stretching helps with breath control and body flexibility. Patients should start stretching for at least 10-15 minutes every day. Experts also believe that stretching before and after exercise is good for the body. Stretching is something that can be done anywhere at any time of day. Try some stretching exercises to prepare for more intense activities.

Aerobic exercises

Aerobic exercises are great for people with COPD because these activities increase the amount of oxygen in the blood. Cardiovascular exercise also strengthens the heart muscle. Walking is an excellent form of aerobic exercise. Patients can do this for 15-20 minutes a day to get the blood flowing.
Another great exercise is cycling. Patients can use a stationary bike or a regular bike. Swimming can also be beneficial. If an outdoor pool isn’t an option, patients can go to a local sports club and use those pool facilities. A good fitness regimen for those with COPD will incorporate aerobic exercises a few times a week.

Try some resistance training

Essentially, resistance training is weight lifting. However, people do not need to start with a heavy load. Lightweight dumbbells or exercise bands work just as well. Resistance training can be done multiple times throughout the week.

Taking the next step

Anyone interested in pulmonary rehabilitation, exercises, or more information about COPD should consult a doctor, physical therapist, or a respiratory therapist. These healthcare professionals are a wealth of knowledge and resources for leading a healthy life with COPD.