Breathing Difficulties.

There are many different reasons you may have difficulty breathing, including:

  • COPD – Chronic Obstruction Pulmonary Disease
  • Emphysema
  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis

These are very different diseases, with a variety of causes medical needs. The common factor among them all is that exercise can improve your health and strength and endurance.

If you have any concerns about your health and if exercise is safe, see your doctor before starting exercise. It is important to ensure exercise is safe for you to do.

Make sure you are getting the most benefit from your medications, particularly your inhalers. Using the right medication can make a big difference in how well you can breathe. You will generally feel better and get more benefit from exercise if you are getting the most benefit from your medications.


The information below lists the current recommendations for exercise for adults. You may not be able to do this much exercise when you start. That is OK. Do what you can and increase your activity gradually. Any amount of activity will be good for your health.

Aerobic Exercise

Exercise that increases your heart rate and breathing rate. At least 150 minutes per week of moderate or at least 75 minutes of vigorous exercise or a combination of moderate and vigorous exercise is recommended. Exercise at least 3 days each week. Exercise can be done in one session each day or in multiple short sessions

If you are very limited in how mach exercise you can do, start with something like walking or riding an exercise bike for 30 to 60 seconds, take a break, then ride for another 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat this as many times as you are comfortable with. Gradually increase the time of each interval or the number of intervals. Eventually you can increase your total exercise time and decrease the number of rest breaks.

Aerobic or endurance exercise is one important part of your cardiovascular disease prevention strategy. Adding resistance and flexibility training will provide even more benefit.

Resistance Exercise

Resistance training can increase your strength, making your daily activities easier. Exercise for all upper and lower body major muscle groups 2 to 3 days each week. You can perform resistance training on consecutive days but not for the same muscles. Allow at least 48 hours rest between exercise sessions for each muscle group. Resistance training can be done with machines, free weights, elastic bands, or body weight resistance.

Flexibility Exercise

This is most effective after your resistance or aerobic training sessions when your muscles are warm. Stretches should be done for all major muscle groups at least 2 to 3 days each week. Stretches should be held for at least 10 seconds for a total of 60 seconds for each muscle group.

Balance / Agility Exercise

Balance and agility is not only important for sports, it is also important for day to day activities. Activities such as climbing a ladder, standing on one foot to put your pants on, or getting in and out of a boat require considerable balance and agility. There are many ways to improve your balance skills such as standing on one foot, doing exercises on a wobble board or BOSU ball, Tai Chi, or yoga. Balance exercises should be done at least 2 to 3 days each week.