Cal's Story: Learning to Exercise When You Have COPD

Cal's Story: Learning to Exercise When You Have COPD

Cal's story

"Why me?"

That's what Cal asked himself over and over after he was diagnosed with severe COPD 5 years ago.

"I spent the first 2 years moping around the house, feeling sorry for myself," he says. "I didn't go anywhere, I didn't do anything. I just sat in front of the TV and tried not to think about anything."

Then one day Sonny, his 5-year-old granddaughter, walked up to him as he sat in his easy chair. "She looked up at me—she's got these enormous brown eyes—and she said, 'Poppy, why won't you come outside and play with me?'

"Well, it about broke my heart. I decided that day to get out of that chair and get back into life. The trouble was, I couldn't take 10 steps without getting out of breath."

But he decided 10 steps was a good start. "I got on our old treadmill and walked for 1 minute that first day."

It was really hard for Cal. He had to stop twice, and he needed his oxygen while he was doing it. But he did it again the next day, and the next. Then he decided to see if he could add 1 minute of walking each week.

One minute gradually became 5 minutes. Then 5 minutes eventually turned into 15 minutes.

"That was 3 years ago," says Cal. "Now I walk an hour around my neighborhood every day. That's right, an hour! And I do it without my oxygen."

Cal thinks it helped a lot that he increased his walking time so gradually. It kept him from getting discouraged. "Now I feel better than I have in years. I'm really amazed."

And after school every day, Sonny and her little brother come over and play in the yard with their Poppy.

This story is based on information gathered from many people living with this condition.

If you need more information, see the topic COPD.

Credits

Current as ofSeptember 5, 2018

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Ken Y. Yoneda, MD - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website, and its associated websites, is provided as a benefit to the local community, and the Internet community in general; it does not constitute medical advice. We try to provide quality information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this website and its associated sites. As medical advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each patient and healthcare is constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of a competent physician. Furthermore, in providing this service, Adventist HealthCare does not condone or support all of the content covered in this site. As an Adventist health care organization, Adventist HealthCare acts in accordance with the ethical and religious directives for Adventist health care services.

Find a Doctor

Find an Adventist HealthCare affiliated doctor by calling our FREE physician referral service at 800-642-0101 or by searching our online physician directory.

View Doctors

Set Your Location

Setting your location helps us to show you nearby providers and locations based on your healthcare needs.