Russell Winwood, the COPD athlete here, and today I want to talk about one of my favorite activities: swimming. After my chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) diagnosis, I made many changes in my life, and I gradually increased my activity levels until I was able to complete an Ironman competition. One of the activities I found that helped my COPD symptoms is swimming. However, there are also some things you need to be prepared for if you’re a fellow COPD patient and you want to go swimming this summer.
Benefits Swimming Can Have for COPD Patients
Swimming is one of my favorite exercises because it has many benefits for COPD and lung health in general. Among these benefits is the fact that swimming regularly has been shown to increase how well your body uses oxygen. In fact, one study reported that swimmers have greater vital capacity (VC), forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) than people who did other activities.
Swimming is also easier on my joints than running, and this is because water is buoyant and helps hold you up while you’re swimming. Also, even a short swim session may be enough to get your heart pumping. In fact, swimming can help you increase cardiovascular fitness, an area that’s often an issue for COPD patients.
What Can You Do to Get Ready for Your Summer Swimming?
Aside from having your swimsuit or trunks, goggles and sunscreen ready to go, there are several things you’ll want to do if you’re a COPD patient who will be going swimming this summer.
You need to know that the chemicals used in pools may give off fumes that can cause your COPD symptoms to worsen. While this is typically more of an issue if you’re using an indoor pool, you should be prepared for it even if the pool is outside. In fact, it’s a good idea to bring your rescue inhaler, other medications or supplemental oxygen with you in case you have any breathing issues.
Another way you can prepare for summer swimming is to work the muscles you’ll be using to swim. Swimming is a whole-body activity, and this means the more fit you are, the longer you’ll be able to swim. To help prepare yourself, you should consider doing exercises that work the muscles in your legs, arms and core. You can also do breathing exercises to help increase your lung capacity.
By considering the issues you may have while swimming with COPD, you’re less likely to be surprised by them. You’ll also have a better chance of reaping the benefits this fun activity offers. This is Russell Winwood wishing you many lung-healthy summer swimming sessions.
Lung Health Institute Can Help You Treat COPD
At Lung Health Institute, our team can help you find supplementary treatments for COPD and other chronic lung diseases. For instance, we offer 3 Anti-Inflammatory Initiative™, or AI2™, plans that may benefit you.
Our AI2 plans provide you with a variety of lifestyle information that may help treat your COPD symptoms. For example, these plans discuss foods that are healthy for your lungs. They also discuss lifestyle areas like sleeping, exercising and supplements. All the information these plans contain is intended to provide benefits such as naturally boosting your immune system and training your body to use fats as inflammation-fighting fuel.
Take the next step to find relief. Contact one of our patient coordinators today for more information or to schedule a free consultation.