The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Couch-to-5k with Lung Disease
There are so many reasons why getting off the couch and into a pair of running shoes is a good idea. The hardest part is getting started; the biggest breakthrough is taking that first step. Couch-to-5k programs abound on the internet and in print. There’s even an app for it available for your cell phone, a method I personally have seen work for someone close to me who had claimed to despise running for the entire time I knew her.
The secret to the effectiveness of Couch-to-5k programs is the gentle introduction to getting the body in motion. At no point does the participant experience an abrupt increase of strenuous exercise they’re expected to perform. If one can walk, they can do a couch-to-5k program. The only deadlines and limits are those set by the one pursuing a fitness goal. That goal may be anything from achieving the ability to walk for a few minutes without feeling fatigued to becoming a marathon runner. For people suffering from various lung diseases, such as people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the essential thing is to do something physically to get the blood moving and maintain lung capacity.
Most couch-to-5k programs begin with a short walk, then progress to short jogging sessions designed not to push you so hard that you get injured or decide to abandon exercise altogether. Josh Clarke’s “Couch to 5k,” or “C25K,” is possibly the most popular 5k training program. Thousands of people worldwide have followed it since its introduction in 1996. The idea is that running doesn’t have to be painful and time-consuming. The 5K training program should deliver results that you can track. There’s nothing more encouraging than watching yourself progress in a measurable way.
If you’d like to make positive changes in your level of fitness, a 5k training program could be the perfect first step to get moving and start feeling better. The best programs are designed for people who may feel so unfit as to be embarrassed to go out for a run, who haven’t been physically active for years, or even decades, and who don’t care to join an intense fitness program that may leave them feeling exhausted or nauseous after a workout. For those with diminished lung capacity, the couch-to-5k is a good option because it is designed to start at the level of someone lying on a sofa clutching a bag of chips.
Even the lightest of exercise supports the cardiovascular system. Lungs and heart work as a team, and keeping them healthy is ideal. Exercising can make you feel more out of breath, but usually only temporarily. If a feeling of breathlessness persists, talk to your doctor about what exercise is appropriate for you.