Lung Disease is responsible for 1 in 5 deaths in the UK.
Of that 20%, the most deadly forms of lung disease are:
- Lung cancer (31%)
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (26%)
- Pneumonia (25%)
- Pulmonary fibrosis (5%)
- Other (13%)
COPD higher in 65+ On par with lung cancer
12 million people are diagnosed with lung disease
1500 people per day find out they have a lung condition
What is COPD & Lung Disease?
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD is one of many, categorised under Lung Disease.
COPD is a group of lung conditions including bronchitis and emphysema. They make it difficult to empty air out of the lungs because your airways have been narrowed. This makes it harder to move air in and out as you breathe, and your lungs are less able to take in oxygen and get rid of carbon dioxide.
How can you Prevent COPD?
There is no good evidence to suggest that physical activity helps to prevent the onset of COPD. Smoking remains the overwhelming risk factor for COPD.
However physical activity has an overwhelming positive benefit in treating & managing COPD/ asthma & should be a key part of the treatment plan for patients.
Top Tips for Improved Breathing:
If you have COPD, being active and exercising can help you to improve your breathing, your fitness and your quality of life.
Don't avoid activities that make you breathless: you'll get less fit and out of breath more easily. Regular exercise can help reverse this by strengthening your muscles.
Getting breathless when you are active is good for you & becoming more active can help make muscles stronger, including your breathing muscles. This will; help you feel less out of breath when you do every day tasks.
The best way to learn how to exercise at the right level for you is to take part in pulmonary rehabilitation. Ask your doctor to refer you.
Pulmonary rehabilitation or PR is a programme of exercise and education designed for people living with COPD. It combines physical exercise sessions with advice and discussions about your lung health.
There is strong evidence that people with COPD benefit from PR and exercise more generally. Most people find PR improves their ability to exercise and their quality of life. The impact of PR is often bigger than the impact of taking inhaled medications. By combining the two approaches, you're likely to get the most benefit.
If you increase your fitness and strengthen your muscles, you'll get less out of breath doing everyday activities like going shopping, doing housework or climbing the stairs. You may even re-discover activities you thought you could no longer do.
Examples of activities could include:
- Brisk Walking
- Gardening & Housework
- Climbing stairs
- Tai Chi
- Qi Gong
- Reduce sitting
- Exercise Referral Schemes
Top Tips for a Healthier Lifestyle
Any activity for more than 10 minutes at a time will build toward your 150 minute goal.
It should all be relative to you as an individual as to how strenuous an activity is. Start at a level you feel comfortable with and gradually increase the duration and intensity of your activity as your fitness improves.
So take it easy and go at your pace.
Gentle aerobic exercises are best. Try Starting with a gentle walk, buke ride, or swim. Gradually increase to 20-30 minutes of exercise until you begin to feel breathless each day, starting small and gradually increasing to increase your exercise capacity.
Don't forget strength building exercises, too. Try yoga or some resistance work to build up and keep muscles strong.
Chair based exercises are a good starting point, too. The British Heart Foundation has an excellent article with tips for chair-based exercises.
Visit your GP for a check-up if you haven't exercised before, if returning from injury or if you're returning to exercise after a long break.
Always seek advice from you GP & if advised to, do not to exercise.
Further information on lung disease and physical activity
Moving medicine: Being active is important for your COPD (PDF, 937 Kb)