You may already know the importance of exercising when you have COPD, but how can you get started? Read on for a few tips1:
Plan, plan, plan: The best way to begin your journey to a healthier lifestyle is to monitor and log your progress. First, plan out your routine. Make a date log for three months in advance and write your personal exercise goals for each week.
Make yourself accountable: During or after your workout, write down what you did, how long and any other information you may be monitoring such as heart rate and resistance. You’ll be able to keep a better log of what you actually did and monitor your improvements. Consider asking a friend or family member for support. If possible, ask them to exercise with you.
Monitor your steps: Robert Rosneck, RRT, recommends getting a pedometer to help measure your physical activity. Pedometers record the number of steps you take throughout the day and can help you measure how active or inactive you are. The numbers below are recommended for people with good health, but it is a good way to gauge which lifestyle you might fall in, says Rosneck.
2,000–4,000 steps a day: sedentary lifestyle
4,000–7,000 steps a day: moderate activity level
7,000–10,000 steps a day: active lifestyle
Look for a gym: If you can afford a gym, join one. If you’re considered a senior citizen, many cities have free or discounted admission for seniors to local gyms, says Rosneck.
Look for activity in your daily routine: Simple things such as walking the dog, cleaning out a storage area or even gardening can all add up to healthy activity for the day. Next time, consider taking the stairs instead of the elevator or parking your car a little further from the door.
Reminder: Always consult your doctor before starting an exercise routine.
Robert J. Rosneck is a registered respiratory therapist and exercise physiologist for the Harrington Heart and Vascular Institute at the University Hospitals Case Medical Center. Robert is also the leader of the Cleveland, OH, chapter of the American Lung Association’s Better Breather’s Club.