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Regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for yourself, but it can be hard to make it a priority in an already busy schedule. Even with the best intentions, keeping a fitness routine on track can be tricky. Check out these tips to help you succeed.

  1. Do it for yourself. Physical activity can be an important part of living with COPD. Being “internally motivated,” or exercising for yourself and your health instead of working out because you want to look good for an event like a wedding or class reunion, makes you more likely to stick with it for the long run.
  2. Take baby steps.  It may be tempting to do too much from the start because you want to see results quickly, but it’s best to ease into a new exercise routine. Speak to your doctor, start slowly and gradually increase your work outs as you feel the need for a greater challenge.
  3. Keep it interesting. It’s hard enough to stay motivated, but if your exercise routine feels tedious, you’re less likely to stick to it. Doing different types of workouts, like walking, stretching or light weights, will keep you engaged and can be better for your body, as you’ll use different muscle groups.
  4. Bring a friend.The pull of the couch can be tough to fight, but a workout partner can keep you honest. It's harder to skip that daily walk when you have a pal who is counting on you.
  5. Add it to the agenda. Brushing your teeth and eating breakfast are everyday things that you do automatically. Exercise can be just as much a fixture in your routine if you make it a regular habit.

You can work a fitness program into your schedule, and these tips will keep you motivated to focus on your fitness. It’s always important to consult your doctor before starting an exercise routine.

Sources: www.webmd.com

Accessed: 12/5/17

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It can be hard to find the time to exercise, especially if that includes a drive to the gym. Thankfully, there are many exercises you can do in the comfort of your home.

Stretching

For COPD patients, loosening up the muscles around the neck, chest and upper back may offer more room for the lungs to expand, which could make breathing easier.

  • Raise your arms as you breathe in, and lower them slowly as you breathe out.
  • Sit in a straight-backed chair with your arms outstretched. Breathe in, and then slowly breathe out as you turn your trunk and arms to the left. Rest and then repeat on the other side.
  • While seated, lift one leg up as you breathe in, then lower it, breathing out. Repeat with the other leg.

Strength Training

Regular exercise can increase the strength and function of your muscles. When your muscles are strong, they’re efficient and use less oxygen, reducing the amount of air you need to breathe in and out for a given exercise.

  • Arm curls – hold the weights at your sides, palms forward. Breathe in. Now lift toward your chest, keeping elbows down and exhaling slowly. Slowly lower your arms back down as you breathe in.
  • Forward arm raises – hold the weights down at your sides, palms facing in. Inhale, then exhale slowly as you raise both arms straight out front to shoulder height. Inhale as you slowly lower your arms.
  • Calf raises – stand 6-12 inches behind a sturdy chair with your feet hip-width apart. Hold on for balance. Inhale. Now lift up high on your toes and exhale slowly. Hold the raised position briefly. Lower your heels back to the ground, inhaling slowly.
  • Leg Extensions - sit in a chair that supports your back. Inhale. Exhale slowly as you stretch one leg as straight as you can, without locking your knee. Breathe in as you slowly lower your foot back to the floor. Do one set with your right leg, then one set with your left.

Having a list of exercises you can do without leaving your home will help you to stay motivated to get some exercise every day. It’s always important to consult your doctor before starting an exercise routine.

Sources: 

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

www.webmd.com

www.everydayhealth.com

health.usnews.com

Accessed: 12/7/17

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Good nutrition is always important, but it can be even more crucial for those living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). What you eat can impact the health of your immune system, your respiratory health and your breathing. Here are some small changes you can make to your diet to help your health.

Pump up the Protein

Eating foods that are high in protein can help your body build muscle. It can also help to boost your immune system as the antibodies that help fight disease are made of protein. Also, many protein-rich foods contain other immune-boosting nutrients like zinc and magnesium.

Protein can be found in a large variety of different foods like eggs, black beans and nuts, as well as lean meats like chicken, low-fat dairy foods, seafood and soy products. Protein supplements are also a convenient way to further boost your protein intake. 

Boost Your Vitamin D

You likely know that vitamin D is important for bone health, but it has also been shown to improve respiratory health. According to the National Emphysema Foundation, vitamin D can help prevent a decline in lung function over time.

Good sources of vitamin D are milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream, as well as foods fortified with calcium and vitamin D like orange juice.

Cut the Salt

Going heavy with the salt shaker can cause the body to retain too much water and make breathing difficult.  To decrease it in your diet, be sure to read prepared food labels and avoid those with more than 300mg of sodium per serving. You can add flavor in other ways like using fresh herbs or no-salt spices.

Creating a diet with your COPD symptoms in mind can make a big difference in your quality of life.

Sources:

Accessed: 12/2/17

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When you think about exercise, you might think you need to lace up your sneakers and go for a run, but there are many low impact exercises that are just as effective.

Walking

Walking is an effective low impact exercise that requires no equipment or memberships. Start with a short walk and rest if you feel short of breath. Count the number of steps you take while you inhale. Then exhale for twice as many steps. For example, if you inhale while taking two steps, exhale through pursed lips while taking the next four steps. Learn to walk so breathing in and exhaling out will become a habit once you find a comfortable breathing rate.

Indoor Cycling

For many with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), a stationary bike can be a great piece of low-impact aerobic exercise equipment. On a stationary bike, you can go at your own pace while reading or watching TV, and even ride with one leg at a time if that is more comfortable.

Swimming

One of the best places to get low-impact cardio exercise is in a swimming pool. Swimming is a full body workout that doesn’t put stress on your bones, joints or muscles. You could swim on your own or try a structured water aerobics class.

Yoga

Yoga is a gentle approach to exercise that involves breath work, stretching, meditation and mindfulness. The practice of yoga and yogic breathing mimics some of the exercises you might be taught as part of a pulmonary rehabilitation treatment, and can be a good way to build strength. You can visit a local yoga studio to take a group class, or find videos online to follow at home.

Exercising with COPD doesn’t have to be strenuous to be effective. These low impact exercises can help you to stay active with less stress. It’s always important to consult your doctor before starting an exercise routine.

Sources:

my.clevelandclinic.org

lunginstitute.com

health.usnews.com

www.livestrong.com

www.everydayhealth.com

Accessed: 12/12/17

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Starting an exercise regimen can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some steps to get you started.

Check Your Health

It’s always important to consult your doctor before starting an exercise routine. This is a great first step because your doctor can help you to create an exercise plan tailored to your particular needs, with exercises to focus on and ones to avoid. Your doctor can also help you to set fitness or health goals, which will allow you to gauge your success along the way.

Write Down Your Plan

It’s easy to say that you’ll exercise every day, but taking pen to paper and writing down a specific plan of what you will do each day can encourage you to stay on track. With your goals in hand, you can begin to create a plan that includes attainable steps. Choose activities that you enjoy, as this will make it easier to stick with it. Start cautiously, progress slowly and be sure to allow time between your fitness sessions for your body to rest and recover.

Make it a Habit

It is important to schedule time to exercise as you would any other appointment.  Making exercise a consistent part of your daily routine will make it easier to maintain. Plan to read while riding a stationary bike or take a break to go on a walk at work. Finding the time to exercise can be a big barrier to success, so 10-minute sessions three times a day versus a single 30-minute session might be more conducive to your schedule.

Stay Positive

Starting an exercise program is an important way to focus on your health. Even if you don’t always meet your weekly goals, this is a great start towards building a healthy habit that lasts a lifetime.

Sources:

www.healthline.com

www.mayoclinic.org

www.acefitness.org

Accessed: 12/4/17

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The holidays are rapidly approaching, bringing with them all the fun and excitement associated with the season.  If you are living with a chronic illness, like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), you need to take extra precautions during this time to avoid things that might trigger a flare-up and cause you to miss all the holiday activities.  Here are a few ways that may help you stay happy and healthy this season:

Dust Those Ornaments

As you bring out those favorite holiday ornaments and decorations, you’re also bringing out the dust that they’ve managed to accumulate over the year they’ve spent in the basement or hall closet.  Be sure to clean them off carefully before hanging them up to help keep down the dust floating in the air.  Packing them away in airtight totes at the end of the season after another good dusting is a good way to keep them ready to use next year.

Display the Candles, Don’t Light Them

So many lovely smells are associated with this time of year – cinnamon, pine, cookies – and many are conveniently available as a candle scent.  As nice as they are, these candles when lit can cause issues for people with COPD. Enjoy them as decorations, but keep them unlit.

Go Natural with Cleaning Products

While you want your home to be clean and shiny for the holidays, you don’t want the heavy chemical smells that might be trigger for your COPD.  Try all-natural products that you can find in the store, or make your own with vinegar, baking soda and water.  And don’t try to do it all by yourself and all at once.  Enlist some help, and be sure to take frequent rest breaks.

That Holiday Shopping!

Try to find parking spots close by the doors of your destination so that you’re not worn out before you even start shopping.  Or, better yet, have a friend drop you off at the door and pick you up later.  It’s less stress for you and limits your exposure to the cold weather that can make breathing difficult.

The holidays can be a wonderful, magical time for the whole family, and with the right precautions you can take part in all the festivities and make memories that you’ll cherish for a long time.

Sources:

copdliving.today, Accessed: 11/30/17

www.achieveclinical.com, Accessed: 11/30/17

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With a multitude of treatment options available to help treat Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), it can be overwhelming to keep up with what’s old, what’s new, and what could be an option for you. While you should always discuss possible changes to your treatment plan and options that are right for you with your physician, you may not be aware of these COPD treatment options.

Lung Volume Reduction Surgery involves removing some of the parts of your lungs that are affected and damaged by COPD. This allows for more air to reach healthy parts of your lungs and helps reduce the symptoms of COPD. While Lung Volume Reduction Surgery may sound beneficial, it carries a great amount of risk. Post-op risks include heart attack, blood clots, infections, and even death. The risk of complications can make some physicians hesitant to perform the surgery. This surgery has been found to be most successful in COPD patients who have disease damage in the upper lobes of their lungs.

Azithromycin is commonly used to help treat a COPD exacerbation. However, this drug’s anti-inflammatory properties have been recently shown to help increase quality of life and lessen COPD exacerbations when taken preventatively.  Since this drug is typically used to help treat and eliminate bacteria that causes exacerbations, there is some concern that regular use of the drug preventatively can lead to antibiotic resistance.

Endobronchial Valves can provide some of the benefit of Lung Volume Reduction Surgery, but with a lowered risk. While still being tested, during this procedure a surgeon performs a bronchoscopic lung volume reduction by inserting a camera into your lungs and locating the parts that are damaged and diseased. Once located, a valve is then inserted to inhibit airflow to the severely damaged and diseased parts of your lung.

Source: inhealth.cnn.com, Accessed: 11/21/17

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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) can have an impact on many areas of your life, including what you eat and drink. However, have you considered the effects of alcohol consumption on COPD?

Besides the potential interactions that can be caused when alcohol is mixed with your medications, alcohol can have an impact on your COPD symptoms. When you indulge in an alcoholic beverage, it can alter the mucociliary transport – one of the functions of your airways.

Here’s how it works:

  • The tissue in the airways of your respiratory system are lined with a layer of mucus.
  • To keep your airways clean, tiny hairs called cilia move back and forth quickly to move mucus through your airways.
  • Particles you have inhaled, such as dust and dirt, are filtered out through this process.

When you drink, this process is inhibited which means that those particles cannot be cleared, leaving you more susceptible to lung infections. Since your COPD is already limiting your ability to breathe, a lung infection can be dangerous to your health.

Research on the effects of alcohol on COPD is still being done. If you do consume alcohol, it is still best to limit your intake. Not only can alcohol cause adverse reactions with some medications, but also it does not provide any nutritional value that cannot be obtained from other sources.

As always, you should discuss alcohol intake and changes to your diet with your physician.

Source: inhealth.cnn.com, Accessed: 11/21/17

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If you are feeling overwhelmed with your role of caregiver, you may consider enlisting the help of a professional care coordinator. Professional care coordinators can help schedule, maintain, and oversee the health of the person you are caring for. The infographic below details some of the tasks a professional care coordinator may be able to help you with.

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Managing Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) means being mindful of potential COPD flare-up triggers. Dust, commonly found in the areas you frequent, is a common COPD trigger. Use these tips to help lessen the amount of dust in your home.

Remove Carpeting

Carpeting may feel comfy on your feet, but it’s a prime location for the storage of dust and other allergens. If you opt to keep your carpeting, be sure to vacuum often with a vacuum cleaner designed to prevent dust from entering back into the air.

When cleaning rugs, take them outside so that the dust is not transferred to other areas indoors.

Wash Your Sheets

Pillows, sheets and mattresses are a dwelling place for dust mites. Be sure to wash your sheets once a week. An allergen-proof cover for your box spring and mattress can provide additional protection from dust mites.

Clean Up Clutter

If you have piles of old magazines, toys or dirty clothing laying around, clean them up! These piles collect dust and cleaning the area around them won’t substitute for picking up the entire thing.

Start at the Top

When cleaning, start with surfaces that are highest and work towards lower level areas. This will allow you to capture dust missed or recirculated.

Avoid using feather dusters as they just spread the existing dust resulting in it settling in other places and continuing to irritate your COPD.

Use an Air Purifier

While not a substitute for a good dusting, an air purifier can help filter the dust particles circulating through the air of your home. Keep in mind that you will need one for each room in your home.

Source: www.foxnews.com, Accessed: 10/16/17

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