Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) refers to a group of lung diseases which make it increasingly difficult for COPD sufferers to breathe. Some of the hardest things about living with COPD are limited mobility, tiring easily, and shortness of breath, all of which can make many COPD sufferers feel like being less active in their daily lives. The reality is that keeping active helps you manage your condition better, and some activities can even ease COPD symptoms! What you need to know about maintaining an active lifestyle with COPD:
Stay Fit - Exercise and COPD. Exercise, even small amounts, helps keep your lungs and heart in shape; when those are in shape less oxygen is required to do the activities you enjoy doing. We’re more motivated to do activities we enjoy, so pick activities you actually like doing to stay fit. Some options for staying fit with COPD are gardening, yoga, tai chi, taking a walk, walking around a museum or aquarium, light swimming, and even cooking! If you use oxygen during your daily activities, there are numerous portable oxygen concentrators which are lightweight and compact enough (a COPD favorite is the EverGo Portable Oxygen Concentrator) to go anywhere and allow you to do all your favorite activities.
Pace Yourself. Many COPD sufferers tire easily, so in any activity you are doing it is important to pace yourself. Avoid bursts of energy in any activity – with COPD you want to maintain a moderate, steady pace during any activity so you have energy for the duration. If you push yourself, your breathing increases and with COPD that means you might not be able to continue the activity at all.
Listen to Your Body. It is important to know the signs of a COPD flare-up, and immediately stop any activity when those signs or COPD symptoms appear. This goes along with the tip above – you should pay attention to your body and not push yourself beyond your own physical limitations. Always keep your medicine (and oxygen if applicable) nearby. If you’ve become breathless during an activity, your breathing should return to normal a short period of time after you’ve stopped the activity. If it doesn’t you should consult with your doctor.
Connect With Other COPD Sufferers. The emotional and physical aspects of COPD can be isolating and at times even depressing, so it is important to connect with others also suffering from COPD. Socializing is important to everyone’s mental health, and you’re much more likely to stay committed to activities when you’re committed to helping others do the same. A support network is also important to help you on days when you’re struggling with COPD.
There are days when your COPD symptoms may make staying active more difficult, but other COPD sufferers can tell you from experience maintaining an active lifestyle really does make your COPD easier. By following the tips above you’ll be more physically and mentally fit, and better able to manage your COPD. What do you do to maintain an active lifestyle with COPD? Leave us a comment below!