Five Benefits of Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Mar 9 • 2015

Anyone who suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, knows that it has an impact on what they can do throughout their day-to-day lives. Even going up a flight of stairs, walking around the block, or pushing a stroller can become difficult due to shortness of breath. One option for people trying to cope with COPD is pulmonary rehabilitation. This program includes exercises that help people build their physical fitness, as well as breathing techniques and strategies for how they can enjoy a better quality of life with COPD. In honor of National Pulmonary Rehabilitation Week, we’ve outlined how this program works and the benefits it provides.

Exercise is the most important part of pulmonary rehabilitation. Leg workouts are a large focus, whether it is walking on a treadmill or stair climbing. However, upper-body workouts like chest and arm workouts and strength training like lifting weights are also incorporated. Some programs also include exercises that require breathing through a mouthpiece in order to increase the strength of breathing muscles.

Another important part of this treatment program is education. Many people aren’t aware of the different ways they can manage their COPD, so one-on-one lessons focus on a variety of topics, like quitting smoking, eating a nutritious diet, understanding the prescribed medication treatment plan, and how to use oxygen therapy. By becoming educated on COPD, people are better able to recognize symptoms and take the right course of action.

Lastly, psychological support is an important part of pulmonary rehabilitation. Depression and anxiety are common issues for people with COPD, so some rehab centers offer counseling and relaxation training to help people address any mood issues they may be experiencing. Combined with the endorphins your body creates during exercise, most people find themselves in a much more positive mood.

Completing a pulmonary rehabilitation program has a variety of benefits. Many people say they are able to be more active with less shortness of breath, experience a better quality of life, and feel like they have more control of their COPD. Once the program is completed, it is important to continue exercising to experience long-term benefits.

Click here to find out more about the pulmonary rehabilitation program offered at Baptist Memorial Hospital – DeSoto.