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COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)




What exercise programs and breathing techniques do you recommend for someone with COPD


Exercise is important in COPD; however, to be prudent, this type of activity should not be started without the approval of your physician.  Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) is an important part of therapy for COPD.  Within pulmonary rehabilitation, exercise therapy and education that includes breathing techniques are included.  Types of exercise used in PR include stretching, walking, light weight training and some type of arm endurance exercise.  If you have not participated in pulmonary rehabilitation, please speak to your physician to request a referral to a local program. 

Breathing techniques can help persons with COPD reduce their shortness of breath.  One is pursed lip breathing with prolonged exhalation (breathing out).  For example, breathe in through your nose for a count of 3 and blow out (exhale) like you are blowing a kiss for a count of 6.  This will help to slow down your breathing while allowing more air to be exhaled from the lungs.  There are other breathing exercises and training devices; however, these are recommended only on a case-by-case basis as determined by pulmonary rehabilitation professionals.

Please consider enrolling in pulmonary rehabilitation if your physician approves--this will provide the best and safest entry for you into exercise with COPD.


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Response by:

Gerene S Bauldoff, RN, PhD, FCCP, FAACVPR, FAAN Gerene S Bauldoff, RN, PhD, FCCP, FAACVPR, FAAN
Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University