Lung conditions do not discriminate; they affect men, women, children, smokers, non-smokers, and people who have never smoked. Lung disease in Australia is common and often underestimated.
There are many lung conditions including but not limited to: COPD, Lung Cancer, Asthma, Bronchiectasis, Interstitial Lung diseases, Pleural Mesothelioma, Cystic Fibrosis and Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH).
Why it’s important to exercise
People who have a chronic lung disease often find it difficult to stay active due to feelings of breathlessness and fatigue, even with low intensity physical activity. Inactivity leads to deconditioning, worsening breathlessness and further inactivity – a vicious cycle.
By exercising and being active, people with lung conditions can break this cycle, increasing their fitness and muscle strength. This helps to to improve symptoms and make being active feel easier. Importantly, people who stay active can reduce their risk of future hospital admissions.
People with lung conditions should aim to meet the Australian government recommendations for physical activity and sedentary behaviour. That is, 150 minutes of physical activity per week, while breaking up prolonged periods of sitting or lying time. It may take time to build up to 150 minutes of physical activity each week. Intermittent activity with frequent rest breaks can help to achieve the 150 minutes.
Whole body aerobic exercise like walking or cycling are important aspects of an exercise program for respiratory health and should be combined with resistance-based exercise. Care should be taken to carefully progress upper limb exercises, as these can be difficult for people with lung conditions.