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Walking Exercises

  • Start with short walks. Your breathing muscles and your walking muscles need to get into shape.
  • Use “rhythmic breathing.” Count the number of steps you take while inhaling, and double the number of steps for exhalation. (Example: two steps, inhale; four steps, exhale.) Do not change the rhythm from inhalation to exhalation.
  • With practice, you may find that a 1:3 rhythm is more comfortable than a 1:2. Use the rhythm that is most comfortable for you.
  • Gradually increase your walking distance as you get stronger. Try to add a little more distance every week. Don’t overextend yourself.
  • Set reasonable goals. Plan rest stops. Don’t allow yourself to get overly tired.
  • During inclement weather or at times of the year when you’re most uncomfortable, you can exercise in climate-controlled areas like shopping malls or in a more formal environment like a hospital rehabilitation area.
  • Remember to go slowly; don’t rush, get stronger gradually, and most of all, enjoy yourself.

Remember:

  • If you have oxygen, check with your physician about the correct amount to use while you’re walking.
  • Do not attempt to walk and talk while beginning your exercise program.
  • Inhale through your nose and exhale through pursed lips.
  • Exhale at least twice as long as you inhale. Don’t force the air out during exhalation.

Relaxation Techniques

The following relaxation techniques can help relieve the tension and anxiety that often accompany your respiratory difficulties. This anxiety can even make you feel worse. By learning to relax your mind and body, you may feel better and you will be decreasing the amount of oxygen that your body needs.

  1. To begin, lie down on a comfortable surface and place pillows under your head and knees. If you are more comfortable on your side, use pillows under your head and between your knees. Relax.
  2. Lie quietly in a comfortable position. Take a slow, deep breath through your nose. Hold the breath for several seconds, purse your lips, and slowly exhale. Relax.
  3. Take another deep, slow breath through your nose. Hold your breath and pull your toes toward your head. Tighten your leg muscles (no longer than a count of three). Feel the tension. Purse your lips, exhale slowly, and relax your legs. Relax.
  4. Take another deep, slow breath through your nose. Hold your breath and make a fist with both hands; tighten your arm muscles. Feel the tension. Purse your lips, exhale slowly, and relax your arms and hands. Relax.
  5. Take another deep, slow breath through your nose. Hold the breath and bite down as hard as you can and tighten your jaw muscles. Feel the tension. Purse your lips, exhale slowly, and relax your jaw. Relax.
  6. Take a deep, slow breath through your nose. Hold your breath, lift your head and tighten your neck muscles. Feel the tension. Purse your lips, exhale slowly, let your head rest back on your pillow, and relax your neck muscles.
  7. Lie still and enjoy the relaxed feeling you’re experiencing. You should do this relaxation technique several times a day, even if you perform it while sitting in a chair.