How to Get Active With COPD
Living an active lifestyle with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), a cluster of lung diseases, can be extremely difficult. Some of these lung diseases include but are not limited to asthma, emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Shortness of breath, trouble breathing, wheezing, increased heart rate, decreased airflow, and dizziness are among the top symptoms of COPD while exercising. Medication and therapies used to treat COPD symptoms are long term inhalers, rescue inhalers, inhaled oral steroids, oxygen therapy, diaphragmatic breathing and more. According to the American Lung Association, COPD is the third leading cause of death in America. So, if you have ever been diagnosed with COPD or have trouble breathing, you should pay close attention to your body and respiratory symptom during exercise.
Here are my top two tips to make sure you manage your COPD while leading a healthy lifestyle through regular exercise.
Gradually build up your cardio.
Cardiovascular exercise is an important part of a balanced workout regimen. You should be very careful as to not get your heart rate up too quickly as this is usually when your breathing also increases. Instead, you should very gradually build up your cardio by increasing time or intensity of your workout.
For example, you can increase your intensity by walking for five minutes, then jogging for a few minutes and progressively getting faster until you have found a steady pace for your breathing and heartbeat. If you are just beginning an exercise regimen or wanting to increase the time span in which you workout, you should apply the 5 minute rule. Perhaps you have been exercising for 15 minutes three times a week. Try 20 minutes the next week, then work your way up to 25 minutes the following week and so on or until you are up to your desired duration.
Pay attention to your flare up triggers.
Weather, seasonal allergies and other triggers can often cause respiratory flare ups. Pay close attention to the severity of your COPD symptoms when the weather changes, particularly in hot and cold climates. Instead of exercising outdoors where you are most affected by the climate change, opt to workout indoors at home or in a gym. You may also notice increased COPD symptoms when seasonal allergies are at their highest. In fact, 2012 research conducted by John Hopkins Allergy and Asthma Center revealed that those diagnosed with COPD experienced increased respiratory symptoms during peak allergy seasons. In order to avoid your COPD flare up you should talk to your doctor to better understand and know your specific allergies and follow your local pollen count.
You can do this!
– CASEY EDMONDS, CHC
Health Advisor | Email Casey