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Community Tips: Staying Active with COPD.

Community Tips: Staying Active with COPD

When living with COPD, every day can be unique. Some days, independence and activity may come easily, while other days, it may be an uphill battle just to get out of bed. It’s nothing new to those living with COPD to hear that “staying active” is key to slow the progress of the condition, and to prevent things like de-conditioning or a death by couch. However, on days that are worse than others, how is it even possible to engage in physical activity without feeling hopeless, frustrated, or weak? The task can seem scary or impossible at times. So we asked you in the Facebook community what tips or strategies you have for staying active with COPD! These were your thoughts:

Enlist Help
While staying active with COPD is about knowing one’s bodily limits, it is never a bad idea to ask for help. This can range from a fitness expert to a friendly neighbor. What works for someone depends on their budget, time, and mobility constraints. Although a certified specialist may be nice to create specific activity plans, a friend can be just as beneficial.

“I have a HPER fitness expert come to my house three days a week.”

Enlisting a buddy to go for bi-weekly walks who understands that frequent breaks may need to be taken, or even just asking a neighbor to come over and chat while cleaning can be just as beneficial. Like with any fitness or activity plan, having good company can be a wonderful motivator and support system.

“I have been motivated by my friends and the people here and I intend to start moving more right away”

Try Something New: Yoga
For those living with COPD, it may not be easy to engage in activities you once enjoyed. However, that doesn’t mean that new activities can’t be just as fulfilling. Yoga is a great activity that is more for “practice than perfection”—a mantra many with COPD find helpful when trying to navigate physical activity regimens. Not all types of yoga are physically challenging. Mindful, Hatha, or Restorative yoga are all variants that focus on mindfulness and breathing techniques, with a decreased emphasis on physical exertion.

“I love to do yoga; I find it helps a lot and forces me to breathe right

Many local recreation centers or rehabilitation facilities may offer classes for a small to no fee. There are also yoga DVDs or instructional videos online for those who want or need to practice at home. Enlisting the help of a buddy can be great here, as yoga is a self-paced activity. The focus is on each individual and what their body needs, including frequent breaks if necessary. There is no pressure to maintain a certain pace or to keep up with someone else.

“I go twice a week to a free Yoga class put on by a rehab clinic. The biggest thing to concentrate on is breathing. It’s about practice, not perfection”

Maintain Positivity and Make Activity Something Enjoyable
With the constant fatigue many go through, and the daily struggle to even do household activities, depression and hopelessness can be common emotions felt by those with COPD. You are not alone. These feelings can make it nearly impossible to want to pursue activity at all. But there are many ways to maintain a positive attitude and find joy even in difficult activities. While someone with COPD may not be able to do everything they once could, it’s important to embrace the things you can do in order to keep moving forward. A small shift in mindset can lead to the completion of new challenges!

“I love walking outdoors in nature around lake and oceanfronts and forests. Slower than I used to be, but I’m doing pretty well since my last exacerbation”

Another great option is to make simple activities fun. If it’s possible to leave the house, walks around beautiful and peaceful settings can be restorative and inspiring. Even just making a fun CD of songs to play at home that are positive and uplifting can make any activity enjoyable. Even better, asking a loved one or friend to make a playlist with great songs can be a fun activity for all!

“I walk daily, and just recently I have found that if I play classic rock I get up and dance!”

Ultimately, it’s incredibly important not to give up or lose hope in the pursuit of activity with COPD. Physical activity can be a process, and more challenging for some than others, but enlisting those around you, engaging in new activities, and maintaining a positive spirit can be transformative on your journey.

Comments

  • kodiac
    2 years ago

    I bought myself a mini shopping cart, half the size of the one we use at the grocery store. I can put my portable oxygen machine, water etc etc in the cart and have the support of the carriage when walking.
    We have a couple walking paths locally, more than a few parks and if it rains we go inside a mall. Worth it’s weight.
    Put a contemporary flower in the front announcing it’s mine.
    I bought it online at ” Store Supply Warehouse”.

  • Jenn Patel
    2 years ago

    Aw I love hearing about this kodiac! It sounds like you really made the mini shopping cart your own, and what a great strategy! It sounds like a huge help and I’m SO happy you did this for yourself! Also, I appreciate your sharing about it here as it clearly gives other people ideas on what might be helpful to them as well. We are so glad you joined our community! Thanks for participating! – Jenn (COPD.net Team)

  • Chouse
    3 years ago

    I have to wear O2 when active. I walk at the grocery store but I have to use the cart for support.

  • kwilter2
    3 years ago

    Hi chouse!
    I have to wear O2 when active as well. I cannot walk anymore without holding on to something or someone.
    I know how you feel. I walk at the Walmart using the cart for support. I can get around my house after neb treatments without the O2 but am careful not to fall.
    I live for when it gets warm enough to open doors and windows. Good luck to you!

  • Hugh c.
    3 years ago

    I just can’t get started exercising. Always so exhausted

  • luvmylife1948
    1 year ago

    This is my problem also. I can’t walk well and with tired legs it is hard to feel as if this weakness will improve. Feels like a life sentence to me. But I guess we have to persevere and encourage each other as this will re-energise us to support each other to move forward with better health and better breathing.

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    1 year ago

    Hi luvmylife1948 – we hear you. Although it can be challenging living with and managing COPD. maintaining a positive outlook and ‘can do’ attitude goes a long way towards dealing with the COPD condition. Keep up the good work! All the best, Leon (site moderator)

  • valie
    3 years ago

    Hi Hugh….when I was starting out and exausted I got a DVD to use at home. That way I could stop as need to get my oxygen sats back up. The more I worked the exercises the better my breathing became. Keep the faith! You can do it! My pulm rehab place gave me a DVD for Seniors..alot of the exercise were from the chair. I also got one for Tai Chi, which really helped w/ my balance. Good luck Sir, keep breathing!
    BTW I am stage 4 copd and use oxygen 24/7.

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    3 years ago

    We hear you, Hugh C!
    Others in our community have expressed similar sentiments to yours. It has been said the ‘energy’ that one needs is just not always there for exercising. Keep in mind that you don’t have to jump in all at once. It’s a gradual process, increasing your activity at a pace that is good for you. I thought you might find this additional article on exercising to be helpful too: https://copd.net/living-with-copd/pulmonary-rehab/exercising-with-copd/
    All the best,
    Leon (site moderator)

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