Regular exercise is important for everyone. For patient with COPD, it is especially important to exercise. The benefits of exercise includes:
- Decreases breathlessness
- Boosts energy and decrease fatigue
- Improves well-being and mood
- Helps to keep your muscles and bones in good condition
- Reduces the likelihood of admission
- Improves sleep
It is important to make a life-long commitment to exercise as benefits are quickly lost if you do not maintain a regular exercise programme.
Walking is the best form of exercise for patients with lung disease. It is recommended to walk at least 7000 steps each day.
Other forms of exercise include swimming, cycling and weight training are helpful.
Simple exercise guidelines:
- Aim for at least 5 days a week
- Schedule it at the same time each day
- Choose a time when you have the most energy
- Do not exercise after a meal
- Start by walking for a short time like 10 minutes and gradually build up to 30 minutes
- Take regular rests if breathless or tired, allowing time to recover and then start walking again
Set target like:
- How long
- Which place to reach
- How many steps
- Walk at an intensity that causes moderate breathlessness
- Do not talk while walking, save energy for the walk
What are the suitable places?
- Walk on firm level ground
- Parks, shopping centre (if weather is hot, wet, windy or humid but do not be distracted by the shops)
- Vary the walking venue
- Wear comfortable clothing and shoes suitable for walking
In a pulmonary rehabilitation programme, people with chronic lung diseases undergo a supervised exercise training programme.
This takes place in the hospital outpatient setting. The programme is patient tailored. It includes:
- Exercise training
- Respiratory and chest physiotherapy techniques
- Psychosocial support
Pulmonary rehabilitation has the following benefits:
- Improvement in quality of life: dyspnoea, fatigue, emotions and patient control over disease
- Improvement in maximal exercise capacity, endurance time and walking distance
- Reduction in anxiety, depression and improvement in psychological well-being
- Reduction in exertion and overall dyspnoea
- Reduction in acute exacerbation and hospitalisation
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