The importance of exercise

In the same way as medication, exercise plays a key role in the treatment of COPD and other chronic pulmonary diseases. In addition, physical exercise is a crucial and fundamental component of a pulmonary rehabilitation program.

The primary goal

Indeed, the primary goal is to give back to the patient the greatest amount of autonomy possible, by having them participate in an exercise program and educating them more about their disease, the treatments and mechanisms to adapt to it.

Two reasons substantiate why patients with COPD should be doing exercise, namely:

  1. First of all, doing physical exercise is associated with improving exercise-induced shortness of breath, fatigue in the lower limbs, stamina and quality of life. Probative data has very well established these effects, as mentioned in the previous steps. This rationale is moreover at the origin of the recommendations in all COPD guides to good practices
  2. There is another reason to do exercise and keep doing physical activities on a daily basis. "Moderate intensity" activities done regularly - 30 minutes, at least three times per week -, according to the recommendations of the American College of Sports Medicine and the U.S. Surgeon General's Office, are also a decisive factor in longer survival rates and better health, in general. In other words, live longer and live better!

To sum up, doing more exercise will help the patient to:

  • better control their shortness of breath
  • increase their strength and exercise endurance
  • better control their anxiety
  • increase their confidence in their capacities
  • improve their quality of life

Physical activity generates benefits and reduces risk:

(Source: US Department of Health and Human Services)

  • ↓ early death
  • ↓ likelihood of coronary disease
  • ↓ likelihood of stroke
  • ↓ likelihood of hypertension
  • ↓ likelihood of a poor lipid profile
  • ↓ likelihood of type 2 diabetes
  • ↓ likelihood of metabolic syndromes
  • ↓ likelihood of colon cancer
  • ↓ likelihood of breast cancer
  • helps prevent weight gain
  • loss of weight, particularly when exercise is combined with a low calorie diet
  • improves breathing capacity and muscle mass
  • helps prevent falls and decreases the likelihood of osteoporosis
  • ↓ depression, anxiety
  • improves cognitive functions