Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a term that usually involves a number of breathing disorders including asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema.


This lung condition involves the bronchial tubes and leads to sudden attacks of breathing difficulty. These attacks are triggered by allergies, dust, weather changes, air pollution, stress.

Learning proper breathing techniques, medication and relaxation can help to lessen attacks and their severity.

Chronic Bronchitis

This is a disease usually of cigarette smokers and involves long term, daily coughing along with breathing difficulty. Bronchitis is characterized by a persistent, mucus producing cough and the expectoration of phlegm.

Partial improvement in symptoms  and  airflow is possible with treatment.


This is a chronic inflammation of the lungs and involves continual breathing difficulty with bouts of wheezing and coughing.

Some relief of symptoms can be possible with medical treatment.

Reasons to Exercise

While exercise does not reverse the damage done to the lungs by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , it has been shown to:

  1. Improve the muscles’ ability to get oxygen from the blood
  2. Decrease breathlessness
  3. Reduce the production of lactic acid
  4. Reduce the ventilatory requirements by improving  your motor skills
  5. Strengthen your respiratory muscles
  6. Improve your confidence and quality of life

Breathing Exercises for COPD

Breathing techniques may be beneficial in preventing the premature collapse of the lungs during expiration which is often associated with Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease . Be sure to assume the proper sitting posture with neutral spine alignment.

Pursed lip breathing  is a technique in which you breathe in through your nose which humidifies, warms and filters the air, then breathe out through your mouth as if through a straw to slow down respiration and maintain lung pressure.

Diaphragm breathing is a technique that uses a deep breathing pattern to expand the lungs and better control the movement.

  • Begin by sitting tall in a chair with your spine and abdomen relaxed.
  • Place your hands on your abdomen as you breathe in through your nose. You should feel your belly move out.
  • Exhale through your mouth as if whistling and feel your abdomen move back in toward your spine.

Strengthening and Endurance Exercises for COPD

Muscle weakness is the main reason for increasing disability in persons with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Weak arms and legs make day to day activities like combing hair and carrying groceries more difficult.

Strengthening will give you confidence which will improve your daily quality of life by allowing you to be more efficient and less likely to curtail your activities due to your disease.

Remember consistent and quality effort for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exercise will increase your well being

Your improved coordination, endurance,  increased motor skills and range of motion will reduce the energy cost involved in your daily activities.