One of the challenges that you face living with COPD is getting enough oxygen into your body.
COPD causes inflammation and irreversible damage to your lungs that cause air to get trapped, which prevents fresh air from getting in. This makes it difficult to breathe, especially exhaling.
For this reason, people with COPD look for as many solutions as possible to help improve lung function. One method that can help with COPD is running.
How does running improve lung function?
Running will not cure COPD, as COPD is an incurable disease, but it will help keep your healthy lung tissue strong.
Running helps your lungs in two ways:
- It improves muscular strength — Strong and healthy muscles require less oxygen to operate. This helps reduce stress off your lungs, which are responsible for introducing oxygen into your bloodstream.
- It improves your physical and mental health — Exercise improves your overall health, which reduces the number of healing resources your body needs to divert to other places in your body that could be used in your lungs instead.
What if you can’t run?
Many COPD patients have too much shortness of breath to run or may be unable to run for other reasons. If you can’t run, you can still participate in some form of physical activity to help strengthen your body and lungs.
Talk with your physician about exercises you can do to help improve lung functions. The answer will depend on the severity of your COPD, your age, medical history and other related personal factors.
Some physical activities you may be able to enjoy instead of running include:
- Aquatic therapy
- Breathing exercises
- Stretches and more
Always consult with your doctor before changing exercise routines to find one that works best for you.
Christine Kingsley, APRN is the Health and Wellness Director at the Lung Institute where she focuses on providing helpful online resources for people looking for information on various lung diseases, breathing exercises, and healthy lifestyle choices. She advocates for holistic care that involves working with your doctor to explore all options including traditional and alternative care while focusing on diet and exercise as proactive measures.