Walking Once Per Day Improves COPD

Most of us know someone who suffers from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). COPD refers to a group of chronic inflammatory diseases that obstruct airflow when breathing

The resulting painful breathing, reduced exercise tolerance, and communication hindrance strongly impact quality of life. Each year, roughly one in five people with moderate to severe COPD experience an acute exacerbation requiring urgent care. Hospitalization is also common in these instances.1 Outpatient pulmonary rehab, such as that available at Advanced Physiotherapy, can improve a person’s experience with COPD.

Five percent of Australians age 45+ have COPD. It is commonly caused by smoking or over-exposure to irritants in the air. There is some more good news. A study in Respirology shows taking a brisk walk once a day leads to fewer COPD attacks and hospitalizations.

The study followed 543 COPD patients from five respiratory clinics. It was found that participants who sustained a medium to high level of physical activity could lower the risk of hospitalizations. Low-intensity exercise, such as walking, also proved to be quite beneficial. However, the patients who overall had the best chance of staying out of the hospital were those who walked approximately two miles, at least three days a week. In addition, the research showed adults with low levels of physical activity or who slacked off from their exercise routine increased their chances of having an attack and needing to be hospitalized.

While walking was the focus of this study, other exercises such as biking or swimming can be beneficial as well. Make sure to always consult with a doctor or physiotherapist to discuss any new activity plans.

Get some exercise and breathe happy!

References

  1. Rubí M, Renom F, Ramis F, Medinas M, Centeno MJ, Górriz M, et al. Effectiveness of pulmonary rehabilitation in reducing health resources use in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2010;91: 364–368.
  2. Esteban C, Arostegu I, Aburto M, et al. Influence of changes in physical activity on frequency of hospitalization in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Respirology, 2014 Apr; 19 (3): 330-338.

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