You have probably noticed when shortness of breath occurs in an athlete during periods of exercise—they tend to blow the air out of their mouths by puffing out their cheeks. You may have also done this when you’ve exerted yourself. This is a normal response to shortness of breath, and it provides for a quick and easy way to improve breathing patterns.
Remember, exhale 3-4 times longer than you inhale; do not force the air out.
Practice this procedure 4-5 times a day initially to get the correct breathing pattern. You should utilize pursed-lip breathing when you are experiencing shortness of breath either at rest or with exertion, or if you feel nervous or apprehensive.
IMPORTANT: You may experience a lightheaded feeling while doing pursed-lip breathing. This indicates that you are over-ventilating yourself and you should breathe more slowly.
Many people with COPD no longer use this important breathing muscle effectively. With this exercise, you can better-utilize this muscle in the act of breathing.