Getting Daily Exercise With COPD Doesn’t Have to Be Hard

Written by: Russell Winwood
December 11, 2018
Getting daily exercise with COPD

Hi folks. My name’s Russell Winwood, and I’m both an athlete and a person who lives with COPD every day. Many people refer to me as the COPD athlete because I’ve run marathons and finished an Ironman competition since my COPD diagnosis. As you can imagine, I’m a huge advocate of staying active with COPD because it has many benefits for you. However, I’m also well aware that not every person with COPD will be able to stay as active as I’ve been able to. Fortunately, staying active doesn’t necessarily mean you have to work yourself to exhaustion. That’s why I’d like to offer you an easy workout routine that’ll give you the benefits of exercise without wiping you out in the process.

The 4 Steps of My Easy COPD Workout

Like many conventional workouts, I’ve structured this easy COPD workout around four basic steps. These steps are warming up, stretching, exercising and cooling down. It’s important to use all of these steps together so that you’ll get the most effective possible workout experience.

The first step in my easy COPD workout is warming up. This step can take many forms, but for COPD patients, I recommend doing some form of breathing exercise to get your lungs ready to exercise. 

Pursed Lip Breathing

One of my favorite breathing exercises to do while warming up is pursed lip breathing. To perform pursed lip breathing as your warm up, follow these steps:

  1. Breathe in through your nose while counting to two. Make sure to keep your mouth closed while inhaling.
  2. Pucker or purse your lips, like you’re going to whistle, and breathe out through your mouth. Try to breathe out for four seconds, or if you can’t exhale for four seconds, exhale for longer than you inhaled.
  3. Repeat these two steps until you get to a six-second inhale and 12 second exhale. As an alternative, you can do five repetitions of the two-second inhale with a four-second exhale.

After you are warmed up, you can move on to the second step of my exercise routine, which is stretching. Stretching the muscles of your shoulders and chest is especially important for COPD patients. This is because loosening these muscles may allow our lungs to expand more fully as we breathe. Two stretches that help loosen your shoulder and chest muscles are seated neck rolls and seated above-the-head chest stretches. 

Complete these stretches by following the steps below:

Seated Neck Roll Shoulder Stretch

  1. Sit up straight in your chair.
  2. Tilt your head to the right, then roll your head slowly to the left with your chin touching your chest.
  3. Stop at your left shoulder, and roll your head slowly back to the right.
  4. Try to do between five and 10 repetitions.


Seated Above-the-Head Chest Stretch

  1. Sit up as straight as possible in your chair.
  2. Raise your arms and interlock your fingers behind your head.
  3. Gently squeeze your shoulder blades together and move your elbows and hands toward the back of your chair.
  4. Move your hands up or down behind your head until you feel the best stretch in your chest.
  5. Hold stretch for three to five seconds.
  6. Slowly allow your shoulder blades to release and move your elbows and hands toward the back of your head.
  7. Repeat these stretch steps three to five times.

Once you’ve completed your stretching, you’re ready to do some easy exercises. Some of the exercises you might consider are chair jumping jacks or seated arm circles.

Seated bicycle kicks

You can also do seated bicycle kicks. Just follow the steps below to do this simple exercise.

  1. Move forward until you’re seated on the front of your chair with your arms on the armrests. If your chair has no armrests, you can grip the seat of the chair.
  2. Grip the armrests or chair seat slightly behind you so that you’re leaning back a little.
    Bring your legs up in front of you and hold them in the air.
  3. While holding your legs in the air, make a pedaling motion as if you’re riding a bike.
    Try to pedal for three to five seconds before lowering your legs slowly to the floor.
  4. Start with one repetition of these exercise steps at first, then try to work your way up to five repetitions.

Now that you’ve got your blood pumping, it’s time to relax again. After all, you’ve earned it. That’s why the final step of my easy COPD exercise routine is the cool down. One great way to relax and recover from this routine is to meditate for a five to 10 minutes. Another option you may want to try if meditation isn’t your thing is repeating the pursed lip breathing that I discussed in the warm-up section. By completing this easy workout routine, you’ll be keeping yourself active, which may have significant benefits for your COPD and your overall health.

Lung Health Institute Is Ready to Help You Find Natural COPD Treatments

One of the reasons that I’m such a fan of the team at the Lung Health Institute is that they believe in helping people find ways to treat their COPD naturally. For instance, they have an Anti-Inflammatory Initiative™ that provides loads of helpful information about reducing inflammation. This plan includes information about sleeping, exercising and anti-inflammatory eating

To find out more about all the ways they can help you, contact one of the Lung Health Institute patient coordinators now to schedule your free consultation.

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