Getting Fit with Pulmonary Rehabilitation
There can be nothing more daunting than being out of breath, while at the same time being encouraged to keep that body moving. There have been times when I could have easily thrown in the towel and quit what I was doing. But I am a stubborn old man so block all thoughts of quitting out of my mind, and always keep going while remembering, being breathless is not dangerous, providing our oxygen saturation levels are under control. And believe me, I am not superman. If I can do it, so can you.
Like many others I have lost count of the number of times of feeling very lazy - wanting to just sit and slouch, before giving myself an order to move.
Our bodies are meant to move
and we will all deteriorate if we don't move. Even the fittest among us. It is far more dangerous for us with COPD to do nothing.
My reward for moving is to feel more energetic, alert, and much less tired. The truth is if we don't move ourselves, and lead a sedentary life, we will decline at a much more rapid pace than otherwise. The saying 'Use it or lose it' applies to lung health too.
My belief is everyone with COPD from moderate up should enter into a Pulmonary Rehabilitation course. The aim of Pulmonary Rehabilitation is to encourage us to be fitter, educate us about our illness while teaching us self management skills with the aim of improving our quality of life.
At the end of rehab your ability to cope with your illness, and understanding of it, will be much stronger. It is there you will learn self management skills, the knowledge of how your respiratory system works, and what you need to do to improve your lung health. You will also be shown and do exercises safely. All of which you will be able to do at home. Demonstrations on breathing control helps to offer you a better quality of life, which is part of pulmonary rehab too.
Improving muscle strength and respiratory health
Which in turn leads your body to use the oxygen you breathe more efficiently. Your general fitness will improve, helping you to cope better with COPD. As an additional bonus you will feel stronger, and fitter, and be able to do more. We all want to feel better. But feeling better does come at a price. We have to work at getting fit harder than we otherwise would if we were not ill, a bit like an athlete, as for us being lung challenged everything is harder. But as I have found. The rewards are immense when it comes to the feel good factor.
It is very important to stay active after you finish a Pulmonary rehab course. You will have a whole lot of exercises that have been taught you on the course. But there are other ways to exercise outside you might like to try. I live in a mountainous area. When I go outside my home I have a seven pound oxygen cylinder strapped to my back if not in my car, or on my scooter. A cannula supplies 6 litres of pulse oxygen to my lungs when on my feet and moving. I sometimes smile when having a cylinder on my back, as I imagine myself as some kind of deep sea diver, or maybe an alien that needs air for a strange world.
Until I write again, breathe easy.
How has your experience been navigating the healthcare system as someone with COPD?