Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

COPD Health Center

Font Size

2-Mile Daily Walk Might Help Fight COPD

Study found patients who were more active had fewer hospitalizations from lung condition

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Maureen Salamon

HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, March 5, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Taking daily walks of at least two miles can reduce hospitalizations from severe episodes of a life-threatening breathing disorder, new research suggests.

Scientists found that chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients without regular walking regimens had about twice the rate of hospitalizations triggered by the condition compared to those who maintained the highest levels of physical activity. This was defined as walking between roughly two and four miles each day.

"Of course, daily walking acts to improve the exercise capacity of these patients," said study author Dr. Cristobal Esteban, a staff member in the respiratory service at Hospital Galdakao-Usansolo, in Spain. "Physical activity is a 'medicine' that will improve your general condition as well as COPD."

The study appeared online recently in the journal Respirology.

The third-leading cause of death in the United States, COPD claims about 134,000 lives annually, according to the American Lung Association. COPD describes a group of progressive respiratory conditions that include emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

Smoking is the most common risk factor for the condition, but others include family history and inhaling pollutants such as fumes, chemicals and dust, according to the COPD Foundation.

For the new study, Esteban and his team recruited about 550 COPD patients from five Spanish respiratory clinics. The researchers calculated participants' exercise totals based on self-reported tallies of the distance they walked during the course of a week. The data was compared to hospitalization records and patients were tracked for at least two years.

Patients who maintained moderate or high level of exercise -- which in most cases equated to a walking regimen -- were hospitalized only 53 percent as often as those who didn't walk regularly, Esteban said.

Dr. Venessa Holland, a pulmonologist at Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas, said the study "helps solidify what we've been doing with patients with any obstructive lung disease."

But Holland, who wasn't involved in the research, said a "major flaw" in the study was the self-reported patient data. "We know people self-report by pure error," she said. "There's no real documentation [their mileage totals] happened."

Today on WebMD

man talking to his doctor
Check your COPD risk.
woman using inhaler
What is the top cause of this condition?
chest x-ray
7 early warning signs.
Senior couple stretching
10 exercises for people With COPD.
Bronchitis Overview
Senior woman blowing dandelion
Living With Copd
human lung graphic
Energy Boosting Foods
red heart and ekg
Living With Copd
Senior couple stretching