9 Exercises Suitable for People With COPD

Wendy Henderson avatar

by Wendy Henderson |

Share this article:

Share article via email

While it’s important to check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise regimen, most patients with COPD benefit greatly from regular exercise for a number of reasons. Exercise won’t cure you of COPD, but it will help you feel stronger, enabling you to better manage the symptoms of the disease and increase your energy levels.

When you begin a new exercise regimen, you’ll need to take things slowly. Gradually increase your effort over time as your muscles become stronger, taking care to stop and rest if you’re feeling breathless. Don’t exercise if you’re feeling unwell, wheezing more than usual, or are coughing excessively and bringing up a lot of mucus.

Here are a few exercises that are suitable for most patients with COPD according to WebMD.com and the COPD Foundation.

Walking is an excellent exercise and a great way to get out of the house and enjoy the outdoors. It works especially well if you have COPD, since you can build distance over time. If weather prevents you from walking outside, either walk on a treadmill at your local gym or go to a large indoor mall and walk around while engaging in a bit of window shopping.

Cycling is another great exercise that you can take at your own pace, increasing your distance over time. If you prefer a stationary bike, listen to some music or an audio book to help you pass the time.

According to the Lung Institute, swimming is a great cardio exercise that’s kind on your joints. That being said, some may find that the chemicals used in pools aggravate their COPD, so salt water pools or natural bodies of water may be a better option in nice weather.

MORE: Nine important dos and don’ts for people with COPD.

Tai Chi
This ancient Chinese exercise is perfect for people with compromised health. It’s gentle and relaxing while helping to improve balance and strengthen muscles.

Water Aerobics
Along with swimming, water aerobics is a good way exercise your heart and lungs without putting too much pressure on your joints.

Breathing Exercises
Breathing exercises will help strengthen your diaphragm enabling you to get more oxygen into your bloodstream when you breathe. They can also help you manage bouts of breathlessness and dizziness.

MORE: Four breathing control techniques every COPD patient should know.

Chair Dancing
For those who have more severe COPD, chair dancing could provide some much-needed exercise. This works the top half of your body — including the heart and lungs — while allowing you to stay seated.

Light Weights
Using light hand weights to perform exercises like arm curls and forward arm raises will help strengthen your arm muscles and get your heart rate up. You don’t need to buy special weights, cans or bottles of water will do just fine.

Stretching exercises such as calf raises and leg extensions will help strengthen the lower half of your body and increase circulation without too much exertion.

MORE: Eight ways to help manage life with COPD.

COPD News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.