Keeping up your quality of life can be a challenge to those who suffer from Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This debilitating lung disease manifests symptoms including frequent coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. Activities that you used to enjoy may become more difficult or even seem impossible when these symptoms are severe.
However, a few modifications are often all that is needed to be able to continue participating in the activities you enjoy and maybe even start some new ones. Here are some of our favorite hobbies to recommend to patients:
Exercising can be one of the most important, yet most difficult activity someone with COPD can do. There are many benefits to exercising with COPD:
- Helps the body efficiently use oxygen
- Strengthens the heart
- Improve circulation
- Lower blood pressure
- Maintain a healthy weight
- strengthen bones
Some great physical activities to practice if you have COPD include yoga, light weight lifting, walking, tai chi, aquatic aerobics, golfing and meditation. Coordinating your breathing with your movements and knowing when to take a break from the action are important when exercising with COPD.
Speak with your doctor when starting any new exercise routine. Remember to take it slow and listen to your body is telling you.
Puzzles require more mental exertion than physical exertion, so puzzles are great for those with COPD. Giving your mind a workout is key to preventing age-related conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s. Enhance your mental prowess by completing jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles, Sudoku and other brain teasers.
Cooking is an enjoyable activity that has the added reward of getting to eat what you make. With small modifications, you can still cook without irritating your COPD symptoms. Some patients may find it difficult to stand for long periods of time, so first, choose the right recipe where the prep time roughly matches the amount of standing you can do.
Invest in a stool or chair so you can sit or take a brief break while you work. Before beginning a recipe, complete all the prep work to ensure less wasted movement. Clean as you cook to keep from getting a crusty mess on your pots and pans that would take more effort to clean later. Also, be sure to try one of our COPD-friendly recipes.
Reading is a great escape if you sometimes focus too much on lung disease. With minimal physical exertion, you can reap the maximum benefits of keeping your mind sharp by reading what you enjoy.
Patients that may have difficulty holding up a book for long periods of time may consider an e-reader, which is lighter and has the added benefit of providing nearly limitless titles to browse at your fingertips.
Maintaining your quality of life is often a difficult goal for those diagnosed with COPD. While symptoms may impact your day-to-day life, sometimes it just requires some creativity to modify how you enjoy the things you love to rediscover how much you enjoy it.
If you or someone in your family is suffering from a lung disease, the Lung Health Institute may be able to help. Contact one of our Patient Coordinators today at to see if you are a candidate for lung restoration treatment.