COVID-19 Information: Vaccine | Testing | Self-assessment | Patient & Visitor Safety | Visitor Policy
Emergency Room Wait Times
Home > Living Well > Health Library > COPD: Using Exercise to Feel Better
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) often makes it difficult to breathe, which in turn may limit how active you are and how much you exercise. But it is important to remain active and exercise when you have COPD. Activity and exercise can:
Exercises for COPD can be done nearly anywhere. They are often done as part of a pulmonary rehabilitation program.
Always consult with your doctor before starting an exercise program. Heart problems, such as coronary artery disease (CAD) or high blood pressure, are common in people who have COPD and may limit exercise options. You may need medical supervision when you start your program.
Exercises for COPD are simple to do and take little time. They generally consist of aerobic exercises, which increase oxygen flow to your muscles, and upper and lower body exercises, which strengthen muscles.
Always consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program. People with COPD may have heart problems, such as coronary artery disease (CAD) or high blood pressure, that limit exercise options. You may need medical supervision when you start your program.
If you become breathless while doing any of the exercises, rest in a position with your shoulders supported (such as in a chair) and wait until you can breathe easily again.
To get started with an exercise program:
Aerobic exercises increase the amount of oxygen that is delivered to your muscles, which allows them to work longer. This helps you do more activities for longer periods of time.
Any exercise that raises your heart rate and keeps it up for an extended period of time will improve your aerobic fitness. These exercises include walking, using a treadmill, cycling or using a stationary bicycle, swimming, and water aerobics.
Daily activities can also be aerobic: walking to work or to run errands, sweeping (perhaps to fast-paced music), playing actively with children, and walking your dog.
There is an easy way to determine whether your heart rate is at the right level during aerobic exercises:
Talk to your doctor before starting aerobic exercise. He or she will help you know how often and how long to exercise and how to set your long-term exercise goals.
Knee extensions, leg lifts, and step-ups develop lower body muscles and will help you move around more easily for longer periods of time.
Talk to your doctor before starting these exercises. He or she will help you know how often and how long to exercise and how to set your long-term exercise goals.
Upper body exercises increase strength in arm and shoulder muscles, which provide support to the rib cage and can help improve breathing. They help in everyday tasks such as carrying groceries and doing housework.
Current as of:
October 26, 2020
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineKen Y. Yoneda MD - Pulmonology
Current as of: October 26, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Ken Y. Yoneda MD - Pulmonology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2021 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
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 an Adventist HealthCare affiliated doctor by calling our FREE physician referral service at 800-642-0101 or by searching our online physician directory.
Set Your Location
Setting your location helps us to show you nearby providers and locations based on your healthcare needs.