The official blog of the Lung Institute.

Swimming with COPD

12 Jul 2015
| Under COPD, Lifestyle, Lung Disease | Posted by | 6 Comments
Swimming with COPD

Is it Safe to Swim with a Lung Disease?

The diagnosis of a debilitating lung disease like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) comes along with a plethora of advice. Eat this, not that. Be aware of air pollutants in your home. Exercise your lungs. When it comes to swimming with COPD, it’s important to know if this particular exercise is right for you. Here are some pros and cons to swimming with lung disease:

Pros for Swimming with COPD

  • Good for beginners. If you’re trying to get yourself moving for the first time in a while, swimming can be a great, non-intensive exercise.
  • Easy on the joints. Years of walking and standing lead to your knees becoming battered and weak. Exercising in the pool—especially water aerobics—make a great alternative to other joint-stressful activities.
  • Great for your heart. Suffering from a lung disease often goes hand-in-hand with excessive strain on your heart. The lack of oxygen on your blood forces your heart to work overtime, pumping more blood to make up for the low oxygen level. Low resistance exercises that are completed over long periods of time, like swimming, give the heart a great workout.

Cons for Swimming with COPD

  • Chemically induced flare-ups. While the smell of chlorine may signal pleasant images in our brains of summertime and fun with friends, it could also signal a flare-up of COPD symptoms for those that suffer from lung disease. The chemicals can irritate the airways and induce cough and wheezing. Try to avoid indoor pools as the air is more saturated with chemical fumes than pools that are outdoors.
  • It is easy to overdo it. It seems contradictory to the concept that swimming is good for beginners, but it is an exercise that can go from relaxing to excessive quickly. When you swim, you use your entire body, so your heart and lungs need to work fairly hard. Keep your exercises simple and build up over time.
  • Watch out for the heat. Unfortunately, the best—and oftentimes the only—time of year to use an outdoor swimming pool is during the summer. Managing the heat with lung disease can be difficult and stressful. To combat this, drink plenty of water and watch the weather report. On really hot days, opt for an indoor exercise instead.

Knowing your strengths and weaknesses can be very helpful when considering a workout regiment. Just as important: knowing what your treatment options are. People are not limited to the everyday COPD treatments like expensive medications that simply manage symptoms and don’t treat the underlying disease. Today, cellular therapy for lung disease is becoming a better alternative for the many sufferers of chronic lung diseases.

If you or a loved one has lung disease, the Lung Institute may be able to help. Contact us by calling (800) 729-3065 today to find out if you qualify for cellular therapy.




  1. Lung Institute

    7 months ago


    Exercise is one of the best things a person can do with COPD, though we would advise consulting your doctor to develop an exercise routine you are both comfortable with you doing.

    We have written a number of blog articles regarding COPD and exercise and here is a link to them.

    We’re happy to answer your questions about cellular therapy for COPD. Our dedicated medical team has a wealth of knowledge about cellular therapy, treatment options, candidacy and more. So, feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149 to speak one-on-one with someone from our medical team over our secure phone line. We look forward to hearing from you soon.


    The Lung Institute

  2. Peggy

    7 months ago

    I swim breast stroke five days a week, 20 laps..with COPD..im concerned about my heart…im on night oxygen…some say its not good idea, others, some doctors say its ok…its my exercise and i love it…if i have to give it up i might as well stop existing..

  3. Marc Frank

    8 months ago


  4. Theresa Laws

    9 months ago

    I have COPD and I’m in water aerobics and I feel a lot better but I am starting to feel now really tired and starting to have a hard time breathing again

  5. Matt

    1 year ago

    That’s great, Harry!
    Best of luck to you and your wife. Have a great day!

  6. Harry

    1 year ago

    We are getting ready to join the ymca and with my wife having a sevrre case of copd, I will keep detailed notes on every workout, noting both pro’s and con’s, this also includes an indoor pool. Hopefully the notes that I take will be helpful to others as well as for us. Thank you

All claims made regarding the efficacy of Lung Institute's treatments as they pertain to pulmonary conditions are based solely on anecdotal support collected by Lung Institute. Individual conditions, treatment and outcomes may vary and are not necessarily indicative of future results. Testimonial participation is voluntary. Lung Institute does not pay for or script patient testimonials.

As required by Texas state law, the Lung Institute Dallas Clinic has received Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval from MaGil IRB, now Chesapeake IRB, which is fully accredited by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Program (AAHRPP), for research protocols and procedures. The Lung Institute has implemented these IRB approved standards at all of its clinics nationwide. Approval indicates that we follow rigorous standards for ethics, quality, and protections for human research.