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Breathing problems and exercise


Alittlephysicalactivityandsomebreathingexercisescanhelpapersonwithlungdisease.Be guidedbyyourdoctororhealthpractitioner.Alwaysplanyourexerciseroutineundertheir supervision.

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How the lungs work


Yourlungsabsorboxygenfromtheair.Youbreathewiththemusclesinyourribcageandasheet ofmusclecalledthediaphragm,whichsitsbeneathyourlungsandaboveyourabdomen.Thelungs containtubesandsmallairsacs.Eachairsaciscoveredwithameshofbloodvesselscalled capillariesandoxygenentersthebloodviathesecapillaries.Whenoxygenlevelsaretoolow,the brainsendsasignaltothelungs,tellingthemtoworkharder.

Lung diseases
Therearemanydiseasesthatstopthelungsfromworkingaswellastheycould.Someofthese diseasesinclude: Asthma Emphysema Bronchiectasis Chronicbronchitis.

Breathing is difficult
Apersonwithlungdiseasehastoworkhardertogetenoughoxygen.Theyoftenuseextramuscles tobreathe,suchasthemusclesoftheneckandshoulders.Ifthelungsarestiffandinflexible,the diaphragmhastoworkhardertoo.Thisisverytiring.Feelingshortofbreathisoneofthemost commonsymptomsoflungdisease.

Breathing exercises
Improvethestrengthofthediaphragm Getmoreairintothelungs Helpbringupdeep-seatedmucous Keepthelungsandchestwallmobile.

Some examples of breathing exercises


Youshouldconsultyourdoctororhealthpractitionerbeforestartinganynewexerciseprogram.

Relaxed deep breathing


Sitdown,relaxyourshoulders,andbreatheinthroughyournoseandoutthroughyourmouth. Yourabdomenshouldmoveinandoutwhileyourebreathing.Thisshowsyouareusingyour diaphragm.

Prolonged breathing out


Breatheinfortwocountsandbreatheoutforthreeorfourcounts.Thishelpstoexpelanytrapped air.

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Physical exercise
Youmaybeavoidingactivitiesthatmakeyoufeelshortofbreath.Thiscanreduceyourlung functionevenmore.Makesureyoutalkoverthepossibilitiesofanexerciseprogramwithyour doctororhealthpractitionerbeforeyoustart. Someexamplesofphysicalactivityinclude: Walking -perhapsstartoffwithafewminuteseachweekandbuildupslowly. Stretching-tokeepyourmusclessupple. Weight training-usingsmallhand-helddumbbells. Tai Chi-TaiChireliesonbreathingtechniquesandslowgracefulmovementswhichrelax andrejuvenatethebody,helptoboostenergy,calmthemind,andimprovepostureand balance. Hydrotherapy-exercisedoneinwater.

Dontpushyourself.Ifyoustartfeelingshortofbreath-stop,sitdownandpracticeyourbreathing exercises.

Hospitals provide training


Hospitalswithrespiratoryunitsoftenrunpulmonary(lungsandairways)rehabilitationcourses. Thecoursesmaybetwiceaweekforsixweeksandtheyuseaholisticapproachwhichmay include: Monitoreduseofatreadmill Exercisebike Tailoredexerciseroutine Lecturesbyarespiratoryphysician Physiotherapy Occupationaltherapy.

Youmayalsobeofferedadvicefroma: Socialworker Pharmacist Anaccreditedpractisingdietitian,contacttheDietitiansAssociationofAustralia

Where to get help


Yourdoctor Yourrespiratoryprofessional Hospitalswithrespiratoryunits.

Things to remember

Breathingcanbemuchharderforsomeonewithlungdisease. Breathingexercisesandlightphysicalactivitycanhelp. Alwaysconsultyourdoctororhealthpractitionerbeforestartinganytypeofexercise program.

This page has been produced in consultation with, and approved by:

ButeykoInstituteofBreathingandHealth

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Contentonthiswebsiteisprovidedforeducationandinformationpurposesonly.Information aboutatherapy,service,productortreatmentdoesnotimplyendorsementandisnotintendedto replaceadvicefromyourdoctororotherregisteredhealthprofessional.Contenthasbeen preparedforVictorianresidentsandwiderAustralianaudiences,andwasaccurateatthetimeof publication.Readersshouldnotethat,overtime,currencyandcompletenessoftheinformation maychange.Allusersareurgedtoalwaysseekadvicefromaregisteredhealthcareprofessional fordiagnosisandanswerstotheirmedicalquestions. Forthelatestupdatesandmoreinformation,visitwww.betterhealth.vic.gov.au Copyight 1999/2012StateofVictoria.ReproducedfromtheBetterHealthChannel (www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au)atnocostwithpermissionoftheVictorianMinisterforHealth. Unauthorisedreproductionandotherusescomprisedinthecopyrightareprohibitedwithout permission.

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