Are you having a hard time breathing? Do you have a mild but recurrent cough? Do you have occasional shortness of breath especially after exercise?
These could be early symptoms for a group of progressive lung diseases called Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD. Emphysema and Bronchitis are the most common types of breathing issues. But simple lifestyle changes can help alleviate these symptoms and prevent the progressive dysfunction that can lead to a lifetime of COPD.
Exercise is key for reducing the risk the top five causes of death and it’s no surprise that it can help decrease the risk for COPD.
4 Ways to Prevent and Treat COPD
Walk it off. Taking a 15-30 minute walk daily can help improve your cardiovascular system. It helps reduce stress and anxiety but most importantly gives your lungs a chance to get stronger. Depending on your current condition, walking may be a challenge in and of itself. But if you can do short bursts of fast paced walking for 10-30 seconds, followed by a minute to 2 minute casual pace, you’ll find quicker improvements in your breathing and heart function.
Ride on. Getting on a stationary bike and pedaling may be a good option when the cold, rain or snow is present. You may opt for a bike with a small tv screen to watch television as you pedal or take a scenic ride with iFit Live programming. Either way, the distraction may help you ride a little bit longer. Opt for a spinning class if a group atmosphere works well for you, but keep in mind that you can lower the resistance to keep pedaling or take breaks as needed.
Weight it out. Using light resistance training is another way to build lung strength. Remember to use lower weights and longer repetition sets as opposed to heavy weights and short sets. Remember you should always be breathing throughout the movements and never hold your breath to lift or pull something.
Belly breathe. Simple breathing exercises can help with lung function and easing the symptoms of COPD. Think of breathing down into your belly as it expands and then slowly exhale while pulling your belly into your spine. This “belly breath” can help build lunch strength and improve posture too. The muscles you use while pulling in and expanding the belly are your diaphragmatic muscles and transverse abdominals, which help support the lower back. You can inhale through your nose for 5 counts and exhale through pursed lips for 10 counts as a breath practice too.
Exercise is key to preventing COPD and other lung disease but keep in mind that eating healthy and avoiding smoking and second-hand smoke is essential. For more information on how to live bette with COPD: https://www.copdlifeiscalling.com/living-with-copd/