When you’re living with COPD one of the main symptoms you might be experiencing is increasing breathlessness particularly when you’re active.
This can make you feel anxious, making the breathlessness worse. But there are some things you could do try to help you reduce breathlessness, including breathing exercises. That’s why we’ve put together a short guide on COPD breathing exercises.
Different exercises work best for different people, so don’t be disheartened if the first technique you try doesn’t work for you. Try to practice these every day.
Breathing exercises can also help if you get out of breath suddenly.
COPD Breathing Exercises
- Relaxed Slow Deep Breathing:
Try to breathe in gently though your nose and out through your nose and mouth. Focus on feeling relaxed and calm each time you breathe out
- Pursed-lips breathing:
This technique helps you slow your breathing down and stay calm. You can use it during and after exercise as well as any activity that makes you feel short of breath.
You need to breathe in through the nostrils and then breathe out slowly through pursed lips, like you’re blowing out a candle. Make sure you don’t force the air out and try to breathe out two to three times longer than when you breathe in. This can help you slow you breathing and increase the amount of time you can exercise or perform and activity.
- Blow as you go:
Try to use this technique when you’re doing something that makes you breathless, such as standing up. Breathe in before you make the effort, then breathe out while making the effort. Try using pursed lips as you breathe out.
- Paced breathing
This is good to use when you’re active, such as climbing stairs. You pace your steps to when you breathe. Take a breath in when you’re on the stair, and then out as you go up a stair.
Your physiotherapist can help you find what works best for you.
Remember: The British Lung Foundation says that to be in control of your breathing means breathing gently, using the least effort you can, with your shoulders supported and relaxed. If you want more advice on how to manage breathlessness, here’s British Lung Foundation’s guide.