COPD and Exercise

3 Dec

People with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a progressive illness that narrows airways and makes breathing difficult, might worry that exercise will make even harder to catch their breath. But by increasing overall fitness and helping to limit weight gain, it can improve breathing and reduce fatigue, according to Albert Rizzo, M.D., chief of Christiana Care Health System Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Section in Newark, Del.

Getting started If your breathing isn’t stable or you have another condition such as heart disease, your doctor may want to evaluate you before okaying exercise. And some people may need supplemental oxygen during workouts. If your COPD is milder, your doctor will either clear you to work our on your own or refer you to pulmonary rehabilitation to learn breathing techniques and exercise safely. Try to build up to four or five weekly hour-long sessions, combining walking or stationary cycling with strength training.

Source: Consumer Reports on Health September 2016

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