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Tools you have that help

Moving into spring and doing those chores that require some elbow grease, I've learned that weights are worth it. Weights that tighten your forearms and wrists. Easy to work with? Yeah, but you need to start and stay with it.
I use 5-pounders, which is excessive for many people who would maybe do as well with a couple of cans of peas from the pantry. Either way, it needs to provide resistance. (Three-pounders are available. I bought a pair at the Dollar Store!)
You can do a lot of things with weights with emphasis on strengthening your hands, your grip, your wrists and forearms. Careful to take it slow. Wrecking your shoulder is counterproductive. What's your hurry? Take all day with it you want and do that controlled breathing so as to maintain some flow to it. This isn't a mindless exercise but it's also not something you need to plan. Just grab your weights, twist your wrists 30 or 50 or 80 or 100 times. Rotate them in front of you and tighten the shoulders and upper arms. Do this daily and build your own regimen. I work in clusters of 10, which allows me to count upward and get something of a routine.
When you do get out there to trim those roses, your wrists will thank you and you will get more done. Garden trimmers don't work on their own.
And wear good garden gloves, which has something to do with all this since being a COPD patient should not include having scraped knuckles or punctured fingers just because you wanted to be a hero in the weed patch. Gloves for garden work, as useful as that mask you should already have.
The mask should be your friend. Wear it to clean the cat's litter box, or to sweep out the dirty closets or sweep the garage that you ignored last fall when you put the garden tools away. In the dust, wear a mask.
Are you doing that controlled breathing? Great, now make sure you don't suck in all that fertilizer you are putting down on the lawn to kill the weeds that will grow anyhow.
If you are doing exercises, bending down to pull those weeds with your garden gloves attached -- make summer more fun.
Stronger wrists and forearms are something we don't think much about but the tightening of the chest muscles and shoulders will let you recover quicker from activity and allow you to focus on the next project.
Weights, gloves, mask ... ambition. Stop and smell the roses. You earned it.
-- JC Updike, Valparaiso IN (COPD patient for more than 20 years and still not on oxygen)

  1. jcupdike you had me grinning as I read through your whole article. This is all so true.
    I did a trial with the COPD Foundation on COPD and exercise. I had pneumonia a couple of times and an exacerbation or two as well. One of the leads on this trial reminded me on days when exercise is too difficult, do them without the weights. You are still exercising, and lifting the weight of your arm, leg or whichever body part you are using. It did make a positive difference.
    Thank you for sharing jcupdike, I hope to hear more!
    Janet (site moderator/COPD.net Team Member)

    1. I do want to add (and neglected) if you are doing any weights at all, it's important to understand what does or does not work. A pulmonary rehab program is still the best place to start. You also need to have an idea about your heart rate and all those little triggers. If you do the wrong kinds of exercise, you are not likely better off and I sure-enough don't profess to be an expert in that area. The weights I do are a very casual 10 or 15 minutes while I am reading the internet or watching the Reds beat the Cubs. I think something that helps tighten your wrists and hands is still pretty-much DIY.

      1. I agree with Melanie. Great advice for others. And thanks so much for sharing what has helped you manage your COPD. Also neat to hear that you have managed to stay off oxygen. All the best to you. John. Community Moderator. copd.net

        1. , this is fantastic, you shared so many great things here! Wearing a mask around dust and other irritants is something I have had to do since I was very young to prevent asthma flares- now we all have masks of course! Your reminders to keep hand and arm strength in tact are very timely, inspiring. Thanks for sharing with us! ~Melanie (team member)

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