The official blog of the Lung Institute.
“If You Keep Moving…You’ll Keep Improving!”
On Wednesday, May 27, 2015, we celebrate the 22nd annual National Senior Health & Fitness Day. Every year, the common goal for this day is to help keep older Americans healthy and fit. Always set for the last Wednesday in May, National Senior Health & Fitness Day is the nation’s largest annual health promotion event for older adults. This year’s theme is “If You Keep Moving…You’ll Keep Improving!”
As people age, it often becomes difficult to get out and about. This can become especially worsened when diagnosed with a chronic lung disease like COPD or pulmonary fibrosis. By learning small ways to increase your physical activity, your health—and your lung health—can continue to improve. Here are a few types of exercise that could keep you get moving:
Yoga, Pilates, and Stretching Exercises
By stretching the muscles and increasing flexibility, the lungs will naturally increase their capacity, and the body will be better prepared for more strenuous forms of exercise.
There have been many studies regarding yoga, the ancient practice of physical poses, deep breathing and meditation. Yoga can be adjusted for anyone from beginners to experts, and poses can be modified for varying skill levels. It is thought to be beneficial for stress, back pain, anxiety, arthritis and more.
Deep Breathing Exercises
There are multiple types of breathing exercises available. Pick one that is challenging and practice every day. If it gets too intense, stop and rest, but always finish the exercise cycle.
- Pursed-lips Breathing: Start by breathing in for two seconds through your nose with your mouth closed. Breathe out for four seconds with your lips pursed. If this is too long for you, just breathe out twice as long as you breathe in. You can use pursed-lips breathing when doing strenuous activity.
- Diaphragmatic Breathing: Lie on your back. Bend your knees. Put one hand on your abdomen, below your ribcage and place the other hand on your chest. Inhale deeply through your nose for three seconds (your belly and lower ribs should rise, and chest remains still), tighten your stomach muscles and exhale for six seconds through slightly puckered lips.
Exercise, even the lightest form of exercise, supports the cardiovascular system. Your lungs and heart work together closely, and keeping them both healthy is ideal. People with COPD often have a difficult time moving around, but even a walk around the block is a great way to get some exercise. This helps improve lung capacity, and breathing rates increase during exercise. Exercising can make you feel more out of breath, but usually only temporarily. If it persists, talk to your doctor about what exercise is appropriate for you, but you should try to do some walking to see how you feel. The benefits of exercise are numerous for your lungs.
Before beginning any kind of exercise program, it is essential that you consult with your physician first. If you or a loved one has COPD or another lung disease and want to learn more about treatment options, contact us or call (800) 729-3065.