COPD, also known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, affects millions of Americans each year. This troubling disease can make it difficult to breathe on a regular basis, and for most people with COPD, exercise of any kind might seem impossible.
With that being said, the truth is that exercise when you have COPD is one of the best things you can do for yourself and for the management of your disease. It might be tough, and at times, it will seem near to impossible, but you must find a way to exercise when you have COPD because there will be many important benefits.
The Benefits of Exercise When You Have COPD
There are many types of exercise, but the most important type of workout for sufferers of COPD is cardiovascular. Cardio works the heart and the lungs and can provide many benefits.
1. First, cardio workouts improve your overall breathing. It may seem like you’re dying even during the few steps of your walk, but over time, you will notice improvement in how well you breathe both when you are exercising and when you are not.
2. Second, cardio helps strengthen your heart. Many people with COPD also suffer from high blood pressure, but high blood pressure can be lowered as you increase your daily amount of exercise.
3. Next, exercise also improves your sleep. It will not only help you to breathe better when you lay down, but it will also make you slightly more exerted throughout the day, which will in turn help you be more tired at night and fall asleep faster.
4. COPD is complicated by being overweight or obese, and exercise helps individuals to either lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
5. Exercise of any kind has been known to reduce stress and anxiety on a daily basis. Workouts help you burn off extra energy from the day, and this can also slow and calm your breathing. Because stress can beget faster-paced, labored breathing, and this type of breathing may then beget more stress, exercise can intervene and calm you down.
6. You’ll have more energy when you start working out because simply getting out of bed in the morning or walking down the street won’t be able to completely tire you out anymore.
7. Many people feel socially isolated when they have COPD, but exercise can be a great way to get out of the house and socialize. If you start working out with a buddy, join an exercise class or take part in an intramural sport, you’ll be taking care of your social isolation and improving your own health at the same time.
8. Finally and most importantly, exercise changes the way your body uses oxygen. People who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease use up more of their body’s energy for one breath alone than people who do not suffer from this disease. Exercise changes the way your body uses oxygen and over time, it will lower the amount you need for a single breath.