Aside from strengthening your lungs and heart, there are a few more reasons to exercise, especially if you have a chronic disease like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Being physically active is good for your entire body, and it causes a healthy chain-reaction that you will notice quickly.
The average adult should be getting 150 hours of exercise per week, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which is easy to achieve if you break it up over the course of a week. You can also work your way up to this amount to ease you into it.
Always talk to your doctor to see if any new exercise regimen will be safe for you. Also, your physician can help you decide on what to do, and how long to do it. He or she will likely give you a combination of aerobic and strength exercises to do, that will be right for you individually.
When getting the right amount of physical activity...
- You will be able to sleep better at night. Many people who have COPD have trouble sleeping at night. Aside from helping to strengthen your lungs, being consistently physically active during the day helps your body to relax through the night, so you will fall asleep quicker and have a better quality sleep.
- You have a better chance of living longer and having a better quality of life in your later years. It's a known fact that the better you take care of yourself, the better chance you have of enjoying more years and better health throughout those years. You will also need to do other things, like eat a healthy balanced diet, use your oxygen concentrator as prescribed if you need it, and take your medication as directed.
- You are less stressed-out. Too much stress wears on your immune system. When your immune system is weakened, you will be more likely to come down with the illnesses that cause the worsening of COPD, known as exacerbations. You should do everything you can to boost your immune system.
- You have an even lower risk of getting any type of heart disease. Heart disease can occur over time in patients with COPD, because of a strain on the heart, which tries to pump as much oxygen-rich blood through the body as it can. When there isn't enough oxygen in the blood, the heart works harder and wears itself out, causing heart failure. If you are using a portable oxygen concentrator while exercising, you're ensuring that enough oxygen is pumping through your blood vessels. Exercise makes your arteries more flexible and resilient, which also helps prevent heart disease.
- You have more endurance. If you want to go on that hiking trip with your friends this summer, you will need to make sure your body can handle hours of activity. The more endurance you have, the more physical activity you can get, the more you will be able to reap these benefits.