Great Exercises for COPD Sufferers

Exercise is great if you have COPDIf you have a hard time breathing, the last thing you may feel like doing is exercising.  But for those with COPD, exercise is vitally important.  Why?  Muscles that are weak need more oxygen to do their job.  Strong muscles can get by with less oxygen.  The more conditioned your muscles are, the easier daily life will become.  If you struggle less, you get to stay independent.

First of all, always consult your physician before you begin any exercise program. If this article gives you some ideas, talk it over with your doctor first to make sure it’s safe for your condition. With that in mind, let’s outline a few exercises that generally work very well for those with COPD.


Whether you do it outside, in an indoor shopping mall, or on a treadmill at home, extra walking is a great place to start. Go slow if you’re starting out, and if you feel overwhelmed by starting a program, just try to add an extra minute per day. Just be sure to pay attention to “ozone alert” or “smog warnings” and avoid being outside when those are in force.

Stationary Bike

Stationary bikes are great if you’re looking for exercise you can do privately. You can almost always find them in a gym or rehab setting, but talk your condition over with the instructor before you join a spinning or group cycling class. As your strength and energy improves, you can try an outdoor bicycle as well.

Tai Chi

Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese practice of slow, gentle movements that can fight stress and promote general health. Because of its gentle, low-impact nature, Tai Chi is generally considered an excellent form of exercise for those with COPD. You can look for classes locally, try a instructional DVD , or view a free video from Dr. Paul Lam.

As you exercise, remember to breathe slowly. Inhale through your nose with your mouth closed. This warms the air entering your lungs. Exhale through your mouth twice as long as you inhale. If your breathing becomes shallow or quick, stop. Rest and relax.

If you are having a flare-up of your COPD symptoms (such as coughing up more fluid than usual, wheezing, or having shallower than normal breath) it’s a good idea to take a break from exercise that day and touch base with your doctor.

In addition to providing you with your COPD medications, we at Brian’s Pharmacies care about your overall health. The better you care for your body, the fewer medications you’ll need – and that sounds great to us. So check with your doctor and get moving!



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