Exercise for Quality of Life

Pre-COPD, I had always led a fairly active life. Up until about ten years ago, I snow skied, hiked, gardened, and worked lots of hours. As this disease progressed, I quit doing the activities that took my breath away. Slowly, I lost my ability to lead an active life.

One day while recouping from a serious exacerbation, I was sitting in my living room and spotted a lady jogging down the street. Suddenly a wave of jealousy came over me. The desire to hop up and take off running was overwhelming. It was at that moment I realized it was going to take a lot of work if I was ever going to be able to do anything physical again.

High altitude training

At that time, I couldn’t even risk a walk down my driveway. If I were to survive going down the drive, I might not be so lucky on the ascension back to the house. I live in a mountain village so I had to re-learn walking up and down hilly roads at a high altitude. Having lived at this altitude for years helped. But, after battling severe pneumonia and being confined to bed, my body was weak. Physically, I was at my very lowest.

Finding a support group

I was fortunate, I found a support group that encourages exercise. I made the commitment to start slowly and see where it would take me. To begin with, I discovered a wonderful two-mile level trail that I could start walking. And so I walked. At first, it was really slow. I carried my oximeter and stopped often to check my O2 as I am on full time oxygen therapy.

Gradually, I found that I could actually walk the whole distance. I met people that walked it daily and we interacted. Many of those that I met had health issues as well since this trail was a favorite for rehab patients. They too became a part of my inspiration.

Exercise is a way of life

Today when I catch myself slacking off of my exercise routines, I tend to get into a funk. The problem it creates perpetuates the pattern I am allowing. I know that if I don’t get back on track soon, I will basically have to start over. So, even if it means dragging myself out for a walk, I do it.

If you are reading this, you need to know exercise is vital to our long-term health. It is also great for our mental health. My advice to you is that you ask your doctor about starting an exercise routine. If you get the okay, look for inspiration and start moving.


Move as slowly as you want, but move. Find a support group in your community or get online and find one. It won't be long before you begin to feel stronger. Keep yourself motivated, push when you can, and keep improving. This is my challenge to you.

I exercise so I can live. I do it for myself and for those that love me. My personal challenge is to keep improving as long as I am breathing. It is important to get up every day and find something to be thankful for. Today I am thankful for my quality of life.

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