A few great ways to stay active with COPD
Research has shown that COPD’s effects can be lessened with regular exercise. Unfortunately, sufferers are more likely to experience fatigue during even moderate physical activity. Here at Agewell Senior Fitness, we believe that your exercise plan should always be safe and enjoyable. Here are some exercises our clients love:
Walking-Starting any new fitness program can seem like a daunting task, which is why many experts recommend starting out with walking. Many of our clients enjoy wearing step counters to monitor their progress and stay motivated.
A few easy ways to get started include parking in the back row of the parking lot, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and the tried and true “constitutional” in the morning and/or after dinner.
Bicycling-We all have a lot of fond memories of riding our bikes as children. If you haven’t ridden one lately, what’s stopping you? Bicycling offers great health benefits for the whole family, and an increasing number of communities are becoming more bike-friendly. If it’s been a while, many bike shops rent bicycles by the hour.
Just make sure to do your homework before you purchase a bike of your own. With bikes, you usually get what you pay for, but many of the more expensive bikes have more features than you’ll ever need for casual recreation.
Low impact aerobics-The health benefits of aerobics are well-known, and there are so many ways to get started. Most health clubs and community centers offer group exercise programs, and their staff can help you pick the right classes and instructors. Many fitness instructors specialize in modifying exercise programs, and always welcome the chance to help you take care of your individual needs. There are also lots of free YouTube videos and Zoom classes available for individuals who aren’t able to regularly visit a gym.
Weight and Resistance training-Weightlifting often conjures up images of sweaty muscle-bound men “pumping iron,” but refers to any exercise that uses weights or resistance bands. Small dumbbells are a great way to add a little more intensity to a leisurely walk around the track, and elastic bands have a lot of uses in aerobics.
Even if you have limited mobility, small weights and light resistance bands can be used to create some very challenging exercises that you can perform at your desk or while you watch television.
Yoga-Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that has become wildly popular over the past few decades. Young people often enjoy practicing yoga as a complement to their sports strength training, and people who are aging can really benefit from developing increased strength and flexibility. Most yoga studios cater to students of all ages and fitness levels, and instructors are trained to help newer students modify challenging poses.
Avid yoga practitioners (“yogis”) enjoy numerous health benefits as a result of their practice; they also enjoy the added focus on finding stillness and calm throughout each practice. In fact, every yoga class ends with a period of rest called Savasana (pronounced SHA-VAH-SUH-NUH). Every yogi looks forward to savasana, but will also tell you that it is the most challenging yoga pose of all.
COPD’s effects are progressive, but your best defense against its symptoms is a good offense. The important thing to remember is that you should choose physical activities that you will continue for a lifetime. The reason why the crowds at the gym start thinning out in the spring are because too many people set unrealistic goals at the beginning of the year and get frustrated.
When it comes to physical fitness, it will always be a series of small victories. Be sure to also consult with your physician before starting any new fitness regimen, and discontinue any activity that causes you pain or excess fatigue right away. There’s nothing wrong with going after those last few laps or reps, but there’s no shame in taking them on your next workout!