A Belgian team started out to set a benchmark for significant improvement; the actual number of increased steps that showed patients’ breathing had improved enough so that they were less likely to be hospitalized later. The answer: another 600 to 1,100 steps a day.
I was so grateful to have been given the opportunity to attend Respiratory Rehab and upon discharge vowed that I would always keep up my exercise schedule. The vow was that the time I spent on exercise was a gift that I would give myself on a daily basis.
It would be an investment in me.
In my mind`s eye I saw myself becoming one of those people who I admire, the one who stays active in spite of adversity. With oxygen tanks in tow, I would continue climbing my mountain.
Then life happens. And exacerbation`s begin. This is what COPDer`s call a worsening of symptoms. It starts when you wake in the morning and you are feeling crappy and realize you have been for a while.
Reason`s Why and What it Means
The reason`s for an exacerbation are too many to mention, it could be weather changes, second-hand smoke or with me it was potassium deficiency (see last week). There are so many reasons why exacerbation happens it`s usually impossible to figure out what or why without blood work, and sometimes you just never find the reason for it.
Reason`s aside it means an increased dyspnea or shortness of breath, a thumping in your heart, choking in your throat or a tightness in your chest. It means an increase in symptoms. Breathing becomes laboured and everything is painful. As you begin to lose control of your body movements are slowed and walking across the room becomes impossible. Most times I don`t even realize that something is happening until it’s too late.
Then I finally took a closer look at my journal and slowly I see a pattern emerge. My last pattern showed that as I started to feel an exacerbation come on there was also a decline in walking and exercise in general and an increase in Borg.
I slowly but surely stopped doing walking, treadmill and elliptical exercises. This started about 6 months ago and as I started feeling worse I started to eliminate other stuff from my schedule. Things like fruits and vegetables were replaced with cookies and chocolates because I felt so bad for me that I needed comfort food.
I gave myself permission to do it and permission became easy.
I started doing only the types of exercise that were easier to do and I called it done. My peddler became the only exercise I did. I could still maintain my steps and distance and keep my FIT BIT happy but was it enough?
The problem was that I am sitting down. No standing necessary and it is a great exercise but it shouldnt be your only exercise. I was also increasing the use of oxygen, using it almost all the time.
Little by little I stopped doing the type of exercise that I was used to doing and needed so desperately to maintain my health. Mainly I stopped walking and standing. I didn’t bother with stretching or warming up or cooling down after exercise.
I immediately felt worse, began to bend forward as I was walking and that lead to less and less achievements and more and more sedentary life. Soon I stopped doing the little things like getting my water. Walking across the kitchen floor was once again becoming too hard to do. My positive attitude became one of wanting to quit. I wanted to quit my job, and actually I wanted to quit life all together.
Meet my old Friend
The doctor told me that if I did not start walking I would likely never get better. According to him I need my muscle`s to wake up in order to get my body going again. In essence he said that I would not be getting better until I started moving again.
If I could get better with as little as 600-1,100 steps a day, why not? I owed to myself to give it a try. I owed it to my family and those that have cheered me on. And, look at the possible ways that you can help yourself in just a few steps here and there.
Courtesy of Pintrest https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/458382068305443873/
I have been told over and over that exercise is the only way. Once we stop moving, we stop living. Those of us with COPD must move, keeping in mind that loosing muscle mass is our enemy.
Don’t fill your FIT BIT with aerobic exercise either. Don`t forget to practice breathing exercise especially as a cool down and do them 6 to 8 times a day. We must have movement of muscle both in legs, arms and lungs. Also, make an effect to stand tall and not be leaning against counters, chairs and table’s all the time.
I have a friend that does chair exercise while lifting cans of soup for weights, legs stretches and constant chair dancing. Turn the music on. There is no excuse good enough not to move.
Have a look at Pintrest or on You Tube.
Follow my Facebook friend on the FB page- COPD-Exercise and Healthy Eating for daily exercise tips and tricks.
All opinions are strictly mine and not on any other authority.