How to Breathe Easier With COPD


By Jay Berger

Even with advanced COPD you can improve your breathing and quality of life. With a chronic illness like COPD it's common to ignore how you are feel and just plug ahead with the activity only to be short of breath when you stop. But once you get back in touch with your body and how you are breathing, you find walking and even climbing the steps are possible without huffing and puffing.

One of the first things to remember to how to breath properly.

    1. Sit in a comfortable position with your feet on the floor.
    2. Breathe in slowly through your nose on two counts.
    3. Pucker your lips slightly like you are blowing out a candle and breathe out on 4 counts.

It is also important learn is how to use your diaphragm again. It's the breathing method you automatically used when your lungs were well.

Sit in a reclined position with one hand on your sternum and another on your belly. Take a breath in and see which hand rises. If it's the hand over your sternum you are breathing shallow.

To breathe more deeply:

    1. Close your eyes and relax your shoulders.
    2. Place one hand over your sternum and another on your belly.
    3. When you breathe in visualize pushing your hand on your belly out.

It may take some time to learn to relax your shoulders and breathe with your diaphragm but this helps you get good oxygenation.

Simple tricks like this and others can help you walk and even climb the steps again without huffing and puffing.

Jay Berger: PT CDP, OTAGO Certified, Pulmonary Rehab, AARC/AACVPR

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