Living With COPD

What lifestyle changes can improve COPD?

Breathing medications and COPD drugs can certainly help relieve symptoms of COPD or even slow its progression. But making certain lifestyle changes can also go a long way to helping you feel better on a daily basis.

Quitting smoking. If you smoke and have COPD, quitting is the best thing you can do. Nicotine is extremely addictive, however, and many smokers find quitting to be extremely tough. If this has been your experience and you want to quit, talk to your doctor about nicotine-replacement therapy or prescription medications to help you stop smoking.

Making time for exercise. It’s true that physical activity may can be a challenge in the midst of breathing issues caused by COPD. But staying active can actually help increase blood flow and improve blood-oxygen levels, both of which can improve your health overall. Seek out low-impact activities like walking or yoga, which have the added benefit of helping to relieve stress, manage weight, and improve your overall fitness level. Look for yoga classes labeled “gentle” that emphasize low-impact movement and breathing.

Performing breathing exercises. Breathing exercises can also be helpful for those with COPD. To help with shortness of breath, for example, medical experts recommend pursed lip breathing. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Sit or stand in a relaxed position.
  2. Breathe in through your nose for two seconds (keep your mouth closed).
  3. Breathe out for four seconds, keeping your lips pursed as you exhale.