A woman peacefully breathing deeply in and out.

First Steps: Starting or Restarting Exercise

Last updated: June 2022

I hear from people daily that tell me they can’t exercise and don’t exercise daily. They complain that they can’t go to the bathroom without feeling exhausted and gasping to breathe.

I have been where you are and felt your pain, embarrassment, and overall agony.

The fear of walking a few feet is so great that you risk wetting your pants. Here are a few steps to follow. How many repetitions or how long you exercise is entirely up to you.

Starting a new exercise routine

You are your only competition and never let anyone make you feel inadequate. Doing a few repetitions daily and building up from there is the key.

Never start with more repetitions than you are comfortable with.

Finding solutions is never easy; no pill or puffer will fix this for you.

Nobody can do it for you. You must take the proverbial bull by the horns and get started yourself. Wanting a better quality of life will drive you to get it done.

Why do you need exercise?

You must move to increase muscle mass and air flow exchange. This helps your hold up your weak chest muscles and rids you of excess air in your lungs.

Exercising your heart and lungs is a necessary daily function that can not be overlooked.

I have included ways for you to get started on your exercise routine or to restart your routine after a major exacerbation. Remember to start slow and to add or increase movements every day.

Building up slowly will ensure that you are not going to hurt yourself or strain any muscles.

Seated exercises are a good place to begin

Start by sitting in a comfortable chair. If you can, have your feet flat on the floor.

Practice deep abdominal breathing for 30 minutes slowly. Hands resting on your lap, palms up.

Remember to breathe deeply through your nose with your mouth closed, deep into your abdomen, hold for a few seconds, and exhale for twice as long as you inhale.

When you are ready, take a deep breath and lift your right arm in the air as you exhale, then bring it back down to rest on your lap.

Practice one more deep abdominal breath, then lift your left arm in the air and bring it down on your lap.

Continue until it is comfortable to do five arm extensions, right then left, and breathe in between.

Incorporate exercise into your daily routine

Increase your exercise by lifting both arms simultaneously, tandemly or right then left, then bring both arms down and rest on your lap. Variety is the spice of life, so change arm directions and intensity often.

Practice while watching TV, and do it during each commercial. When you are reading a book, do it between each chapter or every 5 pages. When listening to music, practice after each song or during every second or third song.

You will become a pro in no time, and you will feel better and have more energy.

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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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