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Gentle Exercise Benefits Patients with Lung Disease

Gentle Exercise for Lung disease Patients such as COPD

Exercise options for those with lung diseases such as COPD, asthma or lung cancer include tai chi and yoga.


Lung disease is common. Per the American Lung Association, there are approximately 21.1 million adults living with asthma and about 15 million adults with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (or COPD.) The American Cancer Society states that Lung Cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women and about 14% of all new cancers are lung cancers.

Obviously, a disease affecting the lungs will affect breathing. Difficulty breathing makes it hard for sufferers to perform physical activity. But regular activity and exercise can improve physical function and quality of life for those with lung conditions.

The Lung Association finds that there are safe exercise options for patients who have difficulty breathing. These are breathing-based exercises such as tai chi and yoga, which may help improve physical strength as well as improve lung capacity.

Tai chi is a low-intensity exercise that focuses on breathing along with slow movements and poses that flow together, so that the participant is in constant motion – but one that causes minimal stress to the joints and muscles.

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Yoga is another low-impact exercise that focuses on breathing techniques during physical poses, or asanas. Holding the pose can raise energy level and strengthen muscles while the deep breathing techniques can help with lung health.

Both exercises are also great for stress relief.

As with any exercise, lung disease patients should check with their healthcare providers first and should participate in classes where the leaders are knowledgeable about their condition.

For more, visit the American Lung Association at www.lung.org.