3 Simple Tips To Improve Breathing: Chair Exercises For COPD Exacerbation

  • Pulmonology
  • ENT - Pulmonology
  • March 28, 2023

COPD exacerbation is common and can lead to discomfort. These simple chair exercises can improve breathing and the quality of life.

Breathe Easy With COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic, inflammatory lung condition. COPD is also an umbrella term for various lung ailments, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Bronchitis causes the bronchial tubes to close, resulting in inflammation and mucus buildup. Emphysema, another form of COPD, gradually deteriorates the air sacs in the lungs, impacting airflow. Symptoms make breathing difficult and affect the overall quality of life. At least 6% of American adults have some form of COPD, but simple chair exercises can help improve breathing

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Look for these symptoms

Early symptoms of COPD may resemble the common cold. Difficulty breathing, frequent lung infections, fingernails and lips turning blue, excess mucus while coughing, tiredness, and wheezing are common symptoms. COPD is often misdiagnosed. However, doctors can perform a range of tests to get to the root cause of the problem. Patients dealing with COPD need ways to improve breathing between treatments. These 3 simple chair exercises can help.

1. All in the diaphragm

While sitting in a chair, place 1 hand on the chest and 1 hand below the rib cage. Inhale very slowly through the nose. The stomach should expand, causing the bottom hand to raise. Exhale through closed lips, tightening the belly while maintaining a still hand on the chest. Repeat this diaphragmatic exercise daily for a maximum of 10 minutes.

2. Go deep

In the same sitting position, move the elbow back, and allow the chest to expand. Once in this position, take a deep breath through the nose, holding that same breath for a 5 count. Then, release the breath very slowly until all the air has been expelled. The exercise can feel strange but should get easier with time. Try this for at least 10 minutes, 3 times daily.

3. Cough for better breathing

A pesky symptom of COPD is the buildup of mucus, which can occur quite quickly. Coughing, specifically the huff cough, is a breathing exercise that can expel mucus without fatigue. This exercise can also be a helpful alternative to deep, painful coughing. Sit upright with the chin tilted slightly to the ceiling. Take a slow deep inhale, hold the breath for a few seconds, then exhale forcefully, making the noise ha, ha, ha. Repeat this a few times, then cough to expel any mucus. This exercise should help clear the airways to allow for easier breathing.

A breath of fresh air

Make chair breathing exercises a consistent daily activity to improve breathing quality. The practice should only take 5-10 minutes, 3 times daily. Breathing exercises can release trapped air, reduce effort in the lungs, and encourage relaxation. These breathing methods can be accompanied by exercise, dietary changes, and doctor-recommended treatments for the best chance of overall success.

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