Due to the breathing challenges associated with COPD, the last thing someone battling the disease may feel like doing is exercising and risking becoming even more breathless. Yet, exercise is important for all of us, including individuals with COPD, to maintain optimal health. As a matter of fact, there are multiple recent studies that point to the confirmed pulmonary benefits of exercising with COPD, and that outline the adverse outcomes for inactivity – including increased hospitalizations and early death.
Grace Home Care, providers of the top-rated senior care in Topeka, KS, proposes the following types of COPD exercises, as recommended by the American Lung Association (after first getting consent from the doctor):
- Stretches. Stretching is in many cases ignored when developing an exercise plan, but it’s extremely important. Research demonstrates that stretching exercises conducted in combination with cardio workouts brought about decreased episodes of shortness of breath. Stretch all of the major muscles with the following exercises:
- Bend from one side to the other; hold and then switch sides
- Lift your ankle up behind you; hold and then switch sides
- Slowly turn the head to one side and then the other
- While sitting down on the floor with legs outstretched, reach forward as far as you comfortably can
- Cardio exercises. The purpose with cardio exercises is to raise the heart rate, which strengthens the lungs and increases their functionality. When starting an exercise program from an inactive lifestyle, or if experiencing more advanced symptoms of COPD, it’s crucial to keep the intensity level low and then, if possible, slowly work your way up. Walking, bicycling and swimming are all ideal COPD exercises to incorporate. For those on oxygen therapy, be sure to check with the physician on the possible need to raise flow rate while doing cardio exercises.
- Strength training. Strength training helps build and strengthen muscles, including those that are essential to breathing. Again, start slowly after a time of inactivity and gradually increase efforts over time. For instance, instead of lifting weights at the beginning, hold cans of soup or bottles of water and lift them slowly while bending the elbows. When this becomes comfortable, transition to weights or resistance bands to improve the intensity of the workout. Simple squats and lunges are also very effective for improving muscle strength.
- Exercising with older individuals to give motivation and encouragement to keep with an exercise program
- Offering transportation and accompaniment to the local senior center or gym for enhanced exercise opportunities outside of the home
- Take care of light housekeeping, meal preparation, and other duties, freeing seniors up to focus on improving their health
- And much more!
To schedule a free in-home evaluation to learn more about our senior care services in Topeka, KS, call us at 785.286.CARE. We’ll put together a personalized plan of care and then monitor that plan ongoing to guarantee the most appropriate level of care is always provided – today, and as care needs change in the future. Partner with Grace Home Care and discover a higher quality of life and wellbeing for your senior loved one!