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COPD Exercises: 10 Easy Exercises for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Patients

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  • Just about everyone with COPD can exercise. Walking is a great choice, especially if you’re just getting started. Do it anywhere -- outside, in a mall, on a treadmill. If it seems daunting, add 30 seconds or 10 yards each day. Even a slow pace will do you good. If you haven't been active lately, check with your doctor before starting an exercise program.

    Fredric Jaffe, D.O., medical director, Pulmonary Rehab Program; Temple University Lung Center.
    Canadian Lung Association: "Living with COPD: Exercise."
    Cleveland Clinic: "COPD Exercise and Activity Guidelines," "Diaphragmatic Technique," "When to Call the Doctor About Your COPD Symptoms."
    COPD Digest: "Exercise Advice for COPD Patients."
    Jodi Stolove's Chair Dancing Fitness.
    Leung. R. European Respiratory Journal online, August 2012.
    National Jewish Health: "Pulmonary Rehabilitation," "Minimizing Shortness of Breath."
    NIH National Institute on Aging: "Sample Exercises: Flexibility," "Sample Exercises: Strength."
    University of Pittsburgh Medical Center: "COPD: Nutrition, Oxygen, and Exercise."
    Yeh, G. Respiratory Care, November 2010.

  • Just about everyone with COPD can exercise. Walking is a great choice, especially if you’re just getting started. Do it anywhere -- outside, in a mall, on a treadmill. If it seems daunting, add 30 seconds or 10 yards each day. Even a slow pace will do you good. If you haven't been active lately, check with your doctor before starting an exercise program.

    Just about everyone with COPD can exercise. Walking is a great choice, especially if you’re just getting started. Do it anywhere -- outside, in a mall, on a treadmill. If it seems daunting, add 30 seconds or 10 yards each day. Even a slow pace will do you good. If you haven't been active lately, check with your doctor before starting an exercise program.

  • Fredric Jaffe, D.O., medical director, Pulmonary Rehab Program; Temple University Lung Center.
    Canadian Lung Association: "Living with COPD: Exercise."
    Cleveland Clinic: "COPD Exercise and Activity Guidelines," "Diaphragmatic Technique," "When to Call the Doctor About Your COPD Symptoms."
    COPD Digest: "Exercise Advice for COPD Patients."
    Jodi Stolove's Chair Dancing Fitness.
    Leung. R. European Respiratory Journal online, August 2012.
    National Jewish Health: "Pulmonary Rehabilitation," "Minimizing Shortness of Breath."
    NIH National Institute on Aging: "Sample Exercises: Flexibility," "Sample Exercises: Strength."
    University of Pittsburgh Medical Center: "COPD: Nutrition, Oxygen, and Exercise."
    Yeh, G. Respiratory Care, November 2010.

The Benefits of Exercise for COPD Patients

There's no question about it: Exercise can be a challenge for people with COPD symptoms. "It is quite natural for those with to become inactive — they are avoiding an unpleasant sensation," says Richard Casaburi, PhD, MD, a professor of medicine at the UCLA School of Medicine. "However, inactivity causes the muscles to shrink and lose function. The more the muscles lose function, the more difficult it is to exercise." In other words, staying healthy with COPD requires exercise, but the exercises don't have to be difficult. Here are six fun, easy, low-impact moves to get you on track with fitness — without worsening your COPD symptoms.