5 Breathing Exercises and 6 Tips for Your COPD

COPD is a health condition also known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It affects a person’s ability to breathe. Some symptoms may include chest tightness, wheezing, shortness of breath and large amounts of mucus buildup. Some symptoms will get worse over time. You can practice different breathing exercises to manage your troubles. If you do it regularly, you will notice an improvement in your breathing abilities while working out or during daily activities. This can help you have more energy everywhere.

Breathing Exercises for COPD

1. Pursed Lip Breathing

To do this breathing, inhale for two counts, purse your lips like a kissing face, and then breathe out slowly. This offers a variety of benefits. Some of these include:

  • Releasing air trapped in your lungs
  • Reducing how hard you work at breathing
  • Reducing shortness of breath
  • Promoting relaxation

If you practice regularly, say 4 or 5 times a day, you will see improvement. Taking deep breathes, and exhaling slowly through pursed lips is particularly useful during hard exercise.

2. Coordinated Breathing

When you are short of breath, you can be anxious. This causes you to hold your breath, exacerbating the problem. Try coordinated breathing to find relief. To do so, try this:

  • Take a slow breath through your nose before starting.
  • With pursed lips, breathe slowly out from your mouth when exercising. This could be when you are lifting weights and doing a bicep curl. This breathing is perfect for when you are exercising or when you are anxious.

3. Deep Breathing

Deep breathing provides several benefits. It prevents air from being trapped in your lungs, which helps with shortness of breath. You will get more fresh air with this technique.To practice it, do this:

  • Stand or sit with elbows relaxed at your sides, but back a bit. You can open your chest more fully this way.
  • Breathe in deep through your nose.
  • Hold till you count to five.
  • Release in slow breathes, from your nose until you can’t release any more air.
  • This is best when done combined with other breathing exercises for COPD.

4. Huff Cough

With COPD, you can get more mucus buildup in your lungs. One breathing exercise for COPD that will offer relief is the huff cough. This is designed to help you cough mucus up effectively but not get you overly tired. This is how it’s done:

  • Get in a comfortable seated spot.
  • Take a deep breath in from your mouth A bit deeper than you normally would. Try to get your stomach involved.
  • Blow the breath out in three, even beats to the sound of, ‘ha, ha, ha.’
  • Envision blowing the air into a mirror, and watching it steam.
  • This way of coughing can be less tiring than the traditional way, and still help you clear the mucus.

5. Diaphragmatic Breathing

You want to get your diaphragm, one of the most important stomach muscles you have, involved with breathing work. Those with COPD tend to use their back, shoulders and neck to breathe more than using their diaphragm. Abdominal breathing or diaphragmatic breathing will help keep the muscles doing their job. Here’s the trick:

  • When lying or sitting down, relax your shoulders; place a hand to chest and another on your tummy.
  • Take a slow breath in your nose, and count to two, feel your stomach stretch out. You have it right, when your tummy moves more than the chest.
  • Breathe out slowly from your mouth while pursing your lips. Press your stomach lightly. This helps the diaphragm release air.
  • Repeat regularly. This is one of the slightly more complicated breathing exercises for COPD, so practice accordingly. If you are struggling with it, talk with your doctor.

Improved Breathing Tip:

If you’re feeling short of breath after or during exercise and day to day activities, try these things:

  • Be more active.
  • Reset yourself: Sit down, destress your shoulders, and practice purse-lip breathes until you catch yours.
  • Continue to improve your activity level, purse lip breath as often as possible and slow down when needed.

More Natural Ways to Deal with COPD

1. Stop Smoking

A main reason for COPD is smoking. If you get COPD, your lungs are damaged already. If you stop smoking you can reduce harm. It’s critical if a patient is short-winded, they need to quit smoking.

2. Mind Your Weight

Many people struggling with COPD use all their energy just to breathe. If they are slim, they will need to eat a lot to maintain or gain weight. If a person is overweight with COPD, then losing a few pounds help with breathing.

3. Avoid Pollutants

Steer clear from things like pollen, dust, fumes, smoke, construction sites, fumes and even perfume. These irritate asthma and make it worse. Avoid bad air and change filters in everything often.

4. Stay Healthy

Those with COPD have lungs that are compromised. They may not fight infection off that easy. With this trouble, pneumonia can happen easily. It can be good to avoid crowds, those who are sick, and to call a doctor at first signs of illness.

5. Sleep Well

Many people who suffer from COPD have sleep apnea or other sleep disorders. Those who have this can benefit from a CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure machine. This is important beyond the breathing exercises for COPD.

6. Get Active

It can be hard to exercise when you don’t feel well but it’s very important. It is one of the best things you can do for your overall health and breathing. It won’t change the lung function but it will improve muscle tone and heart function. This can increase stamina, improve the oxygen in your blood and help your muscles.

When Should You Call the Doctor?

When you have COPD, you can have episodes where shortness of breath can become so bad that you are struggling to even catch it. You can end up with other symptoms such as increased coughing, chest tightness, more mucus or fever. Call a physician immediately to see if you need further treatment.

You may need emergency help if:

  • You have a hard time talking or walking.
  • Your heart is beating irregularly or fast.
  • Your fingernails or lips look blue or gray.
  • Your breathing is hard and fast, even if taking meds.