All too often, people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) avoid activities that stimulate their respiratory system out of fear of triggering an exacerbation. Unfortunately, being less active can actually speed the progression of COPD, leading to a downward spiral.
Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) is one option that can help people with COPD to be more active. However, access to pulmonary rehabilitation programs is often limited.
But, there’s another, easy option that’s been proven to help keep COPD symptoms away: Walking
In fact, patients who walked at least 60 minutes throughout the day have been shown to reduce their COPD rehospitalization rate by 50 percent.* Still, many people with COPD are hesitant to take walks for exercise because they’re concerned about shortness of breath, or they just lack the confidence to start a daily walking program.*
Here’s how you can develop an at-home walking program that can put you on a path to reaching your health goals:
- Talk to your doctor about what they recommend for you.
- Find things that keep you motivated, like someone to walk with or a fitness tracker that counts your steps.
- Start with achievable goals and, if you’re up for it, work to increase them slowly.
- Use oxygen therapy to increase your body’s ability to absorb oxygen while you’re walking.
Oxygen therapy can help keep you on your feet with confidence.
If you have COPD, your blood oxygen level can become dangerously low when you’re active. Supplemental oxygen can make it easier to be more active, so you can do things you enjoy, like walking to meet a friend or playing with your grandchildren.
In the past, oxygen therapy meant lugging around heavy oxygen tanks. But now there’s a better, light-weight option called a portable oxygen concentrator (POC), which is an alternative to oxygen tanks. POCs take the air from around you, whether you are inside or outside, and filter it to concentrate oxygen, which is then delivered in individual doses each time you inhale. A portable oxygen concentrator can help keep you moving, safely and comfortably for longer.
Many people prefer POCs over oxygen tanks because:
- They’re small and lightweight
- Most are approved for air travel
- They run on batteries and never need to be refilled
If you use supplemental oxygen, you should know about Oxyensure. Oxyensure is a partner of Propeller that offers interest-free, no-risk rent-to-own payment plans for POCs. Their flexible payment options remove the financial barriers many face to getting access to POCs and gets you closer to living more confidently and comfortably.
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*Journal of the COPD Foundation, Journal 3 Volume 4, 2016