Living Well With COPD - Page 28

LIVING WELL WITH COPD Make time to exercise most days. Do something simple that you enjoy. It might be walking outside or at a mall. Develop a pattern. Try to slightly increase it each week. If recommended by your doctor, consider enrolling in a pulmonary health rehabilitation program with supervised exercise and other services. Exercise Fitness is a very important contributor to health. Those who are fit feel better and experience fewer illnesses. Many of us avoid exercise. Those with COPD tend to avoid it even more. This is because they struggle to minimize their shortness of breath. Work with your doctor on an exercise program that: • • • • Decreases Shortness of Breath Pulmonary Rehabilitation Pulmonary rehabilitation is a very important part of treatment of symptoms in patients with moderate/ severe and advanced COPD. These programs (covered by Medicare and most insurance companies) may help you reduce the physical impact of COPD. Pulmonary rehabilitation is designed to help you: • Control or reduce breathlessness Improves Quality of Life Improves Exercise Ability Increases Muscle Strength This comprehensive program offers: • Structured, monitored exercise training • • Nutrition advice • Education about maintaining and improving body function • • Help to quit smoking • Improved muscle function to decrease shortness of breath Techniques for reducing and controlling breathing problems Emotional and psychological support Pulmonary rehabilitation improves the quality of life for many people with COPD. To learn more about the benefits, talk to your doctor. These programs are usually done in an outpatient setting. If referred for this program, you will be expected to go at least two to three times a week for 6-8 weeks. When you complete the program, you will get instructions on how to do your exercise program at home. Good Nutrition Good nutrition – eating the right foods – can also help you better manage your COPD. Some people with COPD have trouble keeping weight on. When you lose weight, you lose muscle mass. It can weaken your strength and cause other physical limitations. Other people with COPD may be overweight. This makes it harder to breathe. It’s important to work with your doctor to find your ideal weight. 26 To maintain a healthy weight: • Eat several smaller meals throughout the day instead of three large ones • Drink plenty of fluids to keep airway mucus thin and free-flowing • • Eat slowly Chew food thoroughly