Pulmonary Rehab Improves Breathing Muscles in COPD Patients
04/14/2010

In a 12-month study of 59 patients diagnosed with moderate COPD, physiotherapists found that patients were able to maintain the improvements they reaped from only an eight-week program.

Online PR News – 14-April-2010 – – Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, profoundly affects the lungs and heart, making it difficult to breathe. While patients with COPD might experience challenges with being as active as they once were, exercise that works the lungs and heart can be beneficial. In a 12-month study of 59 patients diagnosed with moderate COPD, physiotherapists in the pulmonary rehabilitation program at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney, Australia found that patients were able to maintain the improvements they reaped from only an eight-week program. Study findings, reported in Medscape Pulmonary Medicine, showed that patients demonstrated significant improvement in a six-minute walk test even after one year.

Pulmonary rehabilitation can include four different types of exercise. Stretching exercises increase muscle flexibility. Aerobic exercise, such as walking or bicycling, improves the body’s use of oxygen. Strengthening exercises increases strength and endurance in the breathing muscles. Finally, breathing exercises, which primarily consist of learning to breathe in new and different ways, build up breathing muscles and help the body take in more oxygen with each breath. Diaphragmatic breathing, for instance, specifically works the diaphragm. These exercises can also promote calm and relaxation during periods of breathing distress, helping a patient react in a more effective way.

The benefits of pulmonary rehabilitation are numerous for COPD patients. Even a few weeks of therapy can lead to lasting improvements in breathing, energy, and quality of life, decreasing symptoms and enhancing life expectancy. Rehab exercises allow patients to be more active, which helps the body use oxygen more efficiently and feel more relaxed when sleeping. Finally, it can also strengthen the heart and bones, in addition to the lungs. Suzanne Andrews, host of Functional Fitness on PBS TV and licensed rehab professional, has included pulmonary rehab techniques in Functional Fitness COPD DVD that instruct specific fitness and breathing exercises that focus on improving functional lung capacity.

COPD makes breathing difficult, and when patients diagnosed with this disease don’t learn to breathe properly, they can experience shortness of breath even when performing simple basic living activities such as grooming. Pulmonary rehabilitation methods in Functional Fitness COPD DVD provides patients with the essential tools for managing COPD by teaching ways to not only decrease symptoms, but counteract them through proper breathing techniques. Functional Fitness COPD DVD is an excellent adjunct to a COPD patient plan of care and is available in doctor’s offices and online and shipped throughout the US, Canada, UK and Australia.