The Best COPD Breathing Exercises for Symptom Management

woman exercising

Use these COPD breathing exercises to help you breathe easier.

COPD can make daily life feel more like a battle. The positive news is there are breathing exercises that may help lessen the symptoms and enhance quality of life. These COPD breathing exercises help strengthen the diaphragm and abdominal muscles, so individuals with COPD can take in a higher level of oxygen and expend less effort into breathing.

Our experts in elderly care in Salt Lake City and the surrounding areas recommend trying these COPD breathing exercises for five to ten minutes several times each day.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

  1. Lie down on your back on the floor or a firm bed with your knees bent. Support your head and knees with pillows.
  2. Place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest.
  3. Take a deep breath through your nose to a count of three. Use your hands to make sure that your stomach rises while your chest continues to be still.
  4. Tighten your stomach muscles, and then breathe out through slightly pursed lips to the count of six. Confirm that your chest remains still.
  5. Repeat for five to ten minutes as tolerated.

Controlled Coughing

This strategy can be used along with diaphragmatic breathing to help clear mucus from the airways.

  1. Hold onto a tissue and sit upright in a comfortable chair. Bend your head slightly forward. Place your feet firmly on the floor.
  2. Use diaphragmatic breathing to breathe in deeply. Try to hold your breath for three seconds.
  3. Place one hand on your belly under your ribs. Press it gently in and up toward the diaphragm while you cough once. This should help to move the mucus up into your throat. Cough once again to clear the mucus from your throat.
  4. Spit out the mucus into a tissue.
  5. Rest for a minute or two and repeat as necessary. Be sure to thoroughly wash your hands when you have finished.

Pursed-Lip Breathing

Practice this method so you can use it when exercising or performing physical activity like climbing stairs or lifting groceries.

  1. Sit in a chair and relax your shoulders and neck.
  2. Take a normal breath in through the nose with the mouth closed.
  3. Purse your lips as though you were about to whistle, then breathe out slowly and gently for four seconds through your pursed lips. If four seconds seems to be too long, try to breathe out for twice as long as you inhale.
  4. Repeat for a minute or so, as long as it is comfortable.

At Harmony Home Health & Hospice, a leading caregiver in Salt Lake City and the surrounding communities, our care professionals are fully trained and experienced in assisting those with COPD with exercising, along with a full range of in-home care services. Call us at 877-463-3322 to see more about how we can help you.