Lung disease patients can benefit from physical activity or exercise training as it can reduce the adverse symptoms caused by exertion, improve exercise capacity and improve quality of life. Exercise coupled with proper breathing strategy can be a beneficial measure to combat respiratory diseases, something a physiotherapist can help you with.
Physical Activity for Respiratory Health
Sufferers of respiratory diseases are on the rise. Two of the most prevalent lung diseases are chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. COPD is a preventable and treatable respiratory condition characterised by airflow obstruction that is not fully reversible while asthma is an inflammatory airway disease associated with a narrowing of the airways and unpleasant breathing sensations that are often reversible with either spontaneously or with medication.
Reduced physical activity is a well-recognised outcome of respiratory diseases. But there are some arguments that inactivity itself is an early cause of lung function decline and symptoms.
It is very well established that physical activity improves health. Exercise and physical activity as part of therapeutic inventions are becoming more and more employed across a wide range of diseases including respiratory diseases.
Pulmonary rehabilitation is a program of exercise, education, and support that trains you on proper breathing and helps you function at the highest level possible. It aims to reduce symptoms, decrease disability, increase participation in physical and social activities, and improve quality of life for those with chronic respiratory disease. The rehabilitation intervention is unique to every patient and is implemented by a multidisciplinary team of health care professionals. People who need lung surgery, both before and after surgery can also benefit from pulmonary rehabilitation.
It is used in conjunction with medical therapy and may include exercise training, nutritional counseling, education on your lung disease and how to manage it, energy-conserving techniques, breathing strategies, and psychological counseling and/or group support.
Exercise training is an important component of pulmonary rehabilitation. In patients with COPD and asthma, pulmonary rehabilitation involving exercise training can be effective in improving exercise capacity, muscle force, quality of life and reducing symptoms.
Exercises in pulmonary rehabilitation may include the following:
Lower body exercises – These are exercises that centers on leg workouts. These may vary from simple walking on a treadmill or around a track to more intense stair climbing.
Upper body exercises – Breathing and daily activities always involve muscles in the upper body, particularly the arms and chest. Exercises may include turning a crank against resistance or a repetitious arm lifting.
Exercises for breathing muscles – These are recommended for people with weak breathing muscles. Breathing through a mouthpiece against resistance during pulmonary rehab can increase strength of these muscles.
Strength Training – While most pulmonary rehab exercises focus on building endurance, an addition of strength training such as weightlifting can further improve muscle strength and bulk.
Role of Physiotherapy
Physiotherapy is involved in the non-medical treatment of patients with acute and chronic respiratory diseases. Physiotherapists play an important role in the management of patients with respiratory disease. They use a variety of strategies aimed at reducing the work of breathing, improving ventilation, increasing function, and enabling relief of dyspnoea (difficulty of breathing).
Respiratory physiotherapy is not a new concept. Deep breathing exercises have been practiced for over a century to strengthen the chest, lungs, and stomach.
Our team at i Physio Perth can help by designing an exercise program suitable to your needs. Call us today at 9444 8729!