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Breathing Exercises for COPD in Elderly Patients

If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with the progressive lung disease known as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), you might be feeling overwhelmed with questions about how to manage their daily care. If that’s the case, know you’re not alone – in 2016, there were an estimated 251 million cases of COPD globally. Common symptoms of COPD include breathlessness, a chronic cough and mucus production. While there is currently no known cure for COPD, treatment and lung exercises can help your loved one relieve symptoms of COPD, improving their quality of life and reducing the risk of serious or life-threatening illnesses due to the disease. You might be wondering, how can I help my senior loved one practice strengthening exercises? Read on to find out more about breathing exercises for the elderly to improve lung function.

How Can the Elderly Increase Lung Capacity?

When it comes to treatment, can deep breathing help COPD? While there is no cure for COPD, practicing deep breathing exercises can help elderly individuals learn to exert themselves less when participating in daily activities. Various breathing exercises, like those detailed below, can help release air trapped in the lungs, can promote relaxation or a release of anxiety that might cause additional shortness of breath, and can help your loved one expel mucus more effectively without too much exertion.

How Can I Strengthen My Lungs?

So what are some effective breathing exercises and techniques for your loved one to try? Here are the top five recommended breathing exercises to strengthen lungs:

  1. Diaphragmatic breathing
  2. Pursed lip breathing
  3. Huff cough
  4. Coordinated breathing
  5. Deep breathing

To learn more about diaphragmatic breathing or pursed lip breathing, you can check out the videos below.

Breathing Exercises for COPD: Video

Pursed Lip Breathing

Diaphragmatic Breathing


COPD Exercise Precautions

While taking steps to minimize COPD symptoms with deep breathing techniques is important, it’s also important to pay attention to your body and set realistic expectations for your progress, so you can avoid injury or illness. Consult with your doctor before beginning any COPD exercise programs, and be sure to stop your exercises right away if you begin to experience symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, weakness, rapid or irregular heartbeat, severe shortness of breath, pain, or pressure or pain in your chest, arm, neck, jaw or shoulder. Contact your doctor right away if you experience any of these symptoms.

Need a hand getting started with your breathing exercises for COPD rehabilitation? Monterey Park Rehabilitation & Health Care Center is here to help. Our staff is ready to answer any questions you might have and to provide the best in senior care and rehabilitation for your loved one. Contact us today by calling 816-795-7888 or schedule a tour with one of our staff today!