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Copd: Breathing Exercises

AMBULATORY CARE:

Breathing exercises

may help manage your symptoms of COPD. Shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing may be improved by doing exercises. These exercises may strengthen the muscles you use to breathe. They may also help you get air easier when you are having trouble breathing. Your healthcare provider will tell you how often to do these exercises.

Deep breathing and coughing:

Take a deep breath and hold it for as long as you can. Let the air out and then cough strongly. Deep breaths help open your airway. You may be given an incentive spirometer to help you take deep breaths. Put the plastic piece in your mouth and take a slow, deep breath. Then let the air out and cough. Repeat these steps 10 times every hour. This will decrease your risk for a lung infection.

How to use and Incentive Spirometer

Pursed-lip breathing:

Pursed-lip breathing can be especially helpful before you start an activity. It can also be used any time you feel short of breath. You can do this exercise by following these steps:

  • Breathe in through your nose. Use the muscles in your abdomen to help fill your lungs with air.
  • Slowly breathe out through your mouth with your lips slightly puckered. You should make a quiet hissing sound as you breathe out.
  • Try to take twice as long to breathe out as it did to breathe in. This helps you get rid of as much air from your lungs as possible.
  • Repeat this exercise several times. Once you are used to doing pursed-lip breathing, you can do it any time you need more air.
    Breathe in Breathe out

Diaphragmatic breathing:

This exercise will help strengthen the muscles that you use to breathe. You can do this exercise by following these steps:

  • Place one hand on your stomach just below your ribs. Place your other hand in the middle of your chest over your breastbone.
  • Breathe in slowly through your nose, as deeply as you can.
  • Breathe out slowly through pursed lips. As you breathe out, tighten the muscles in your stomach. Use your hand to gently push in and up while tightening the muscles.
  • Diaphragmatic breathing takes practice. You may need to practice this many times a day. Slowly increase the amount of time you spend during each practice session.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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