announcement

Help someone with useful health advice.

Breathing Exercises for COPD

Breathing Exercises for COPD

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) patients find simple activities like eating, or walking a small distance strenuous. Breathing exercises go a long way in helping these individuals.
Bhakti Satalkar
Last Updated: Mar 22, 2018
Discomfort caused due to shortness of breath (dyspnea) is related to the disturbance in the lungs caused by COPD. Patients suffering from this condition need help in managing the problems associated with it, and this is where breathing exercises come in handy. These particular exercises are also referred to as diaphragmatic exercises.
Pursed Lip Breathing
This breathing technique will help strengthen your lungs. Pursed lip breathing means breathing out slowly, as though you are breathing into a straw. For this exercise, breathe in through your nose as you count till 3. Now, slowly exhale out through your mouth. Remember, exhaling should take double the amount of time required to breathe in. Hence, as you start exhaling, count till 6. Do the counting till you get used to the pace. When you exhale, make sure you are not forcing your lungs to empty out completely. The benefit of this routine is that it will help you control your breathing rate, and also solve your problems with shortness of breath. If you practice this exercise daily, you will find common daily tasks much easier to do.
Diaphragmatic Breathing
Diaphragmatic breathing is also known as belly breathing. It will help your lungs expand, and help you breathe in more air. To do this exercise, sit comfortably on a chair, and keep your shoulders relaxed. Keep one hand on your abdomen. Start inhaling, and as you start breathing in, push your abdomen out, so as to accommodate more air. Now start exhaling by pushing your abdominal muscles in. Use the pursed lip breathing technique to exhale, and feel your abdominal muscles contracting. Repeat this exercise thrice a day. It can also be performed while lying down. The goal is to reach a stage, where you will be able to do diaphragmatic breathing as you ascend a staircase.
Deep Breathing
Sit comfortably on a chair, pull your elbows firmly back from the waist, and breathe in slowly. Keep your chest arched as you hold your breath, and count till five. Now, contract your abdominal muscles, and force the air out. Repeat this 10 times.
Controlled Coughing
Breathing problems associated with COPD are mainly due to the obstruction of the airways by mucus. Hence, to clear the airways with the help of diaphragmatic breathing, you will have to use the following steps.
  • Sit upright in a chair, but allow your head to lean forward slightly. Keep your feet firmly on the ground.
  • Now using the diaphragmatic breathing technique, take a deep breath. Hold your breath for a minimum of 3 seconds.
  • Open your mouth, and like in diaphragmatic breathing, press your hand against the abdomen and cough once. This will help to move the mucus towards your throat. Once this happens, cough it out from your system itself.
  • You may want to spit the mucus in a tissue, to show it to your healthcare professional, to negate any possible signs of infection. Wash your hands with soap and water thereafter.
  • If needed, you can repeat the exercise.

Here's some advice before you start any of these breathing exercises for COPD. Consult your physician to verify which of these exercises are right for your case. Your physician may suggest some changes to these exercises, to make them more suitable to treat your condition. Remember, these exercises will only help you deal with COPD, and they should not be substituted for its treatment.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is solely for informative purpose and not intended to replace the advice of medical experts.