Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis and asthma, is defined by the American Thoracic Society as a condition characterized by airflow obstruction that reduces the ability to sufficiently empty the lungs.
The shortness of breath caused by the COPD promote inactivity in the patient, based in the anxiety and fear of losing the breathing and worse the condition, but recent studies shows many benefits in COPD patients after participation in prescribed exercise which include: increased physical capacity, decreased anxiety about breathlessness, greater independence in daily activities, reduced fatigue and improved quality of life.
Cardiovascular training (especially deep water aerobics) resistance or strengthening training and stretching training should be conceived as the non-drug prescribed medicine and the patient must look forward to do what he/she can do. For that, when exercising follows these guidelines:
– Always breathe slowly to save your breath. Inhale through your nose, keeping your mouth closed. This warms and moisturizes the air you breathe and at the same time filters it. Exhale through pursed lips.
– Breathe out slowly and gently through pursed lips. This permits more complete lung action when the oxygen you inhale is exchanged for the carbon dioxide you exhale.
– Try to inhale for two seconds and exhale for four seconds. You might find slightly shorter or longer periods are more natural for you. If so, just try to breathe out twice as long as you breathe in.
– Exercise will not harm your lungs. When you experience shortness of breath during an activity, this is an indication that your body needs more oxygen. If you slow your rate of breathing and concentrate on exhaling through pursed lips, you will restore oxygen to your system more rapidly.
– When drinking liquids during exercise, remember to follow your fluid restriction guidelines.
If certainly, exercise cannot reverse the physiologic and structural deficits in COPD, it can reduce disability associated with this condition by improving physical endurance and strength, as well as breathing efficiency and tolerance, especially in severely impaired patients. According with The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) persons with COPD who follow an individualized progressive exercise program can often increase their functional capacity 70% to 80% after six weeks of training.
In general, to achieve maximum benefits, the COPD patient should gradually work up to an exercise session lasting 20 to 30 minutes, at least three to four times a week. For that, I invite you to book your initial appointment to determine your health/fitness condition and we’ll help you choose the ideal service based on your goals!