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COPD Breathing Exercises to Help Relieve Symptoms

Learn how COPD breathing exercises can help a person you love.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can transform daily life into a battle. The good news is that there are breathing exercises to help relieve the symptoms and enhance quality of life. CareFor, a leading provider of Austin caregiving services and in-home care in nearby areas, recommends the following COPD breathing exercises to help strengthen the diaphragm and abdominal muscles, so those with COPD can take in more oxygen and expend less effort into breathing. 

Try these exercises for five to ten minutes several times every day. 

Diaphragmatic Breathing

  1. Lie on your back on a firm bed or the floor with your knees bent. Support your knees and head with pillows. 
  2. Put one hand on the stomach and the other on the chest. 
  3. Breathe deeply through your nose to a count of three. Use your hands to make sure that your stomach rises while your chest continues to be still. 
  4. Tighten your stomach muscles, and then breathe out through slightly pursed lips to the count of six. Confirm that the chest stays still. 
  5. Repeat for five to ten minutes as tolerated. 

Controlled Coughing

This tactic can be used along with diaphragmatic breathing to help remove mucus from the airways.

  1. Get a tissue and sit upright in a comfortable chair. Bend your head slightly forward. Set your feet firmly on the floor.
  2. Use diaphragmatic breathing to inhale deeply. Try to hold your breath for 3 seconds. 
  3. Put one hand on the stomach underneath your ribs. Press it gently in and up toward the diaphragm while coughing once. This should help to push the mucus up into your throat. Cough again to clear the mucus from your throat. 
  4. Spit the mucus into a tissue. 
  5. Rest for a moment or two and repeat as necessary. Be sure to properly wash your hands when you have finished. 

Pursed-Lip Breathing

Practice this technique so you can use it when exercising or other physical activities such as climbing stairs or carrying groceries.

  1. Sit in a chair and relax your neck and shoulders. 
  2. Take a normal breath in through the nose with the mouth closed. 
  3. Purse your lips as though you were about to whistle, then breathe out slowly and gently for four seconds through your pursed lips. If four seconds is too long, try to breathe out for twice as long as you inhale. 
  4. Repeat for a minute or so, as long as it is comfortable. 

At CareFor, our care professionals are thoroughly trained and experienced in assisting those with COPD with exercising, along with a full range of in-home care services. Reach out to us at (512) 338-4533 to learn more about how our Austin caregiving services can help. Visit our Service Area page to see all of the communities we serve.

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