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Living Your Best COPD Life with Diet and Exercise

After my first serious exacerbation, I was too weak to walk across the room. I was devastated and scared. A very serious case of pneumonia had almost put me in my grave. 

I came home from the hospital on oxygen therapy and today I accept that I will need it for the rest of my life. After days of crying over the mess my life had become, I decided I had to take control of what I could.

I needed to regain some strength and normalcy. I needed to live again.

My first step was to start eating healthier and get more exercise. This was all part of beginning my quest to  live my best life possible even though I had COPD. It is surprising how eating healthy and exercising regularly increases our energy levels and improves our ability to breathe.

The importance of exercise with COPD

Exercise is essential for those living with COPD. It helps to improve lung function, increase stamina, and strengthen the muscles needed for breathing.

By incorporating a regular exercise routine into your daily life, you can reduce symptoms such as shortness of breath and fatigue. Before getting started, talk to your pulmonologist or your primary physician to see what advice they may give you.

Always begin with a warmup routine. In the beginning, the warmup routine may actually wear you out. If you haven’t exercised in a while or have been ill and are trying to restart your exercise routine, it might take a while. 

Go it at a pace that works for you. Start gradually and be gentle with yourself.

Remember to always listen to your body and stop if you feel any discomfort. Whether it's walking, cycling, swimming, or simple stretching exercises, find an activity that you enjoy. The key is to have fun too, it will keep you motivated.

Benefits of regular exercise for COPD patients

  • Improved lung function
  • Increased stamina and endurance
  • Strengthened respiratory muscles
  • Reduced shortness of breath

The role of diet in managing COPD

Our diet is something that we really can control without a whole lot of effort. And, we eat has a direct impact on how we breathe.

A COPD friendly diet includes:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Lean proteins such as fish, poultry and legumes
  • Healthy fats from nuts, seed and olive oil
  • Whole grains such as oats, brown rice, and whole wheat

Foods that will work against us are processed meats, potato chips, foods that are high in sodium, soda or other beverages sweetened with refined sugar, and some dairy products.

Cooking was my hobby, but I realized that I was more focused on what tasted good versus what was healthy. It took a little discipline to make the necessary changes to my diet.

Personally, I found the popular Mediterranean Diet to be a great source for recipes that include healthier ingredients. Start by making little substitutions in your diet. The bottom line is you have to find what works for you or you won’t stick to it.

Living your personal best life with COPD requires a combination of regular exercise and a healthy diet. By incorporating these two essential steps into your daily routine, you can improve your breathing, reduce symptoms and enhance your overall well-being. Please remember to consult your healthcare provider before making any significant changes to your exercise or diet plan. 

With your personal dedication and consistency you can effectively manage your COPD and hopefully live a fulfilling life.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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