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Staying Active is Key

One of the subjects I mentioned is ‘death by couch’. That can sound disturbing and alarming. But remember as I have had COPD since 1987 I am convinced the only reason I am still living is I have remained as active as possible. I have known some to be diagnosed with COPD to then do little other than sit on the couch with the remote watching television. Those I have known do this have died within a short time.

By remaining as active as possible you are building or maintaining muscle density – and most important exercising your lungs. That will help you live years longer than if you were the guy sitting with a remote. Muscle uses less oxygen and means everything is easier to do. Short walks is fine. You will find in time you get a little less breathless and can do more. Remember – keep that body moving and you will live many more years. Sit in the chair with no exercise and you meet your maker quicker.

Being breathless is not dangerous. Remember when you were a kid and you would run with others, then gasp for air. Or later in the gym run up a sweat and become breathless. The human body is not made to do nothing. The truth is that we need to move our bodies. Muscles in the chest area are essential to aid breathing. Muscle uses less oxygen.

If you are slow and have to stop often when walking, if with a friend or partner ask them to wait a while when you need to catch breath. You might have to ask countless times but good is happening. Your lungs are working hard and amazing as it may seem the idea is to get a little breathless. You might cough a bit but that is good. You will also be toning muscles. Meaning your body will use oxygen much more efficiently. Remember though – when I say exercise that is anything that means you are on your feet moving your body. If you are unable to walk exercising can be a little cleaning. Cooking. Light gardening. Lifting light weights, stretches. The list is endless. Remember though. If you need to stop to catch your breath, do so. Then continue when able.

Both the UK and USA run pulmonary rehabilitation courses that will aid you the patient in many ways. These courses teach you how to exercise safely. Which exercises are good for you. At pulmonary rehabilitation you learn breathing techniques to help during periods of breathlessness. You get tips on how to conserve energy and advice is offered on nutrition and coping. Once the lungs are damaged they cannot at the moment be repaired but pulmonary rehabilitation will help you function better in your daily life. I have been on one of these courses in the UK and they are well worth going to. To find out about any course near you please talk to your specialist nurse or medic. Remember – a diagnosis of COPD is not a death sentence, but the start of a challenge. Life can still be a good enjoyable experience as long as we meet the challenge.

Many of you guys will like me get into cabin fever territory during winter when it is too cold to venture out. For some in desert states such as Arizona that can be summer during torrid heat. Cold, humidity and torrid heat can really cause havoc with our fragile state meaning we have to stay in a climate controlled environment at times. This is in itself a challenge as we still need to ‘move that body’. This I will write about soon.

Till I write again smile. But most of all. Breathe Easy.

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


  • normajean
    4 years ago

    I would like to know if bike riding is ok to do with copd

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    4 years ago

    Hi NormaJean and thanks for posting this very good question. I saw you had posted this question on our Facebook page yesterday 4/24 at 8:37pm. That is where I saw it and answered it first. I’ll copy the answer here for future, easier reference:

    Hi Norma – that is a great question. If you are able to get out there and ride a bike, that is every bit as good as any other form of exercise and staying active. the graphic used (two people riding bicycles) is not just for show! Please check back with us and let us know how you did with the bike riding. Warm regards, Leon (site moderator)

  • Jenn Patel
    4 years ago

    Hi NormaJean!

    Thanks so much for your question. While you may get feedback from other community members and potentially our experts, I thought you might be interested in knowing that activity levels can differ from person to person when it comes to exercising with COPD. Therefore, speaking with your doctor about bike riding would be a great next step for you! In addition, this page on exercise might be helpful as well:

    Thanks so much for being part of the community here. Please do keep in touch!

    Jenn (Community Manager,

  • Dobbo
    4 years ago

    Am about to start pulmonary rehab! It will get me out!lol!

  • Derek Cummings author
    4 years ago

    I really hope pulmonary rehab is helping you to move more Jane. Staying active really is the Key. 😉

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