COPD and Exercise: Breathing and Exercise Programs for COPD
COPD and Exercise Precautions
It's good to take precautions when exercising with COPD, but remember that shortness of breath doesn't always mean you should stop altogether. Instead, slow down and continue exercising. If shortness of breath becomes severe, then stop exercising.
Here are other exercise precautions:
- Always consult a doctor or other health care provider before starting a COPD exercise program. If you have a change in any medications, talk to your doctor before continuing your exercise routine.
- Balance exercise with rest. If you feel tired, start at a lower level. If you feel very tired, rest, and try again the next day.
- Wait at least an hour and a half after eating before beginning to exercise.
- When you drink fluids while exercising, remember any fluid restrictions you have.
- Avoid hot or cold showers after exercising.
- If you've been away from exercise for several days, start up slowly, and gradually return to your regular routine.
Exercises to avoid when you have COPD:
- Heavy lifting or pushing
- Chores such as shoveling, mowing, or raking
- Pushups, sit-ups, or isometric exercises, which involve pushing against immovable objects
- Outdoor exercises when the weather is very cold, hot, or humid
- Walking up steep hills
Ask your doctor whether exercises like weightlifting, jogging, and swimming are OK for you to do when you have COPD.
COPD and Exercise: When to Stop
If you experience any of these signs or symptoms, stop your COPD exercise program right away. Sit down, and keep your feet raised while resting. If you don't feel better quickly, call your doctor.
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Severe shortness of breath
- Pressure or pain in your chest, arm, neck, jaw, or shoulder