Thursday, May 24, 2007

Beginning exercise for the frail person with COPD

Hello again, and I hope everyone is having a lovely day!

Some persons with severe COPD are so severly debilitated and weakened they are confined to bed, or so weakened they have great difficulty getting into a chair. Ideally such patients should have initial professional help from a Visiting Nurse service, who in turn, may be able to arrange for a temporary visiting Physical Therapist.

Even if bedridden, the patient can and should begin their rehabilitation with chest mobilization and corrective breathing training, as well as developing Pursed Lip Breathing skills. This should provide some dyspnea relief, and having some breathig control skills will be helpful later when exerting and needing more ventilation.

Exercises that anyone can do are called "Isometric Exercises." This is simply tensing muscle groups against one another. This type of exercise can be done by anyone, even those with severe arthritis problems, as there is little or no movement of joints involved.

For now, I will get you started with the Upper Extremity Exercises.
Upper extremity exercises for those confined to bed, may be done by clasping your hands in front of you, next to the chest. Then press your hands together, and maintain this tension to the count of five. Repeat this cycle two or three times until you can do this exercise fairly easily. This will strengthen your shoulder muscles.
Do this exercise (and all of the other exercises) at least every two hours, and preferably every hour. Then build up your strength by a combination of stronger pressures, longer times of applying pressure, and more cycle repetitions. You have to decide what is best for you, but initially stay with pressure times of about five seconds until you are stronger.
Another shoulder muscle exercise is to place your hands by your side, palms down, next to your hips, then press your hands firmly into the bed to the count of five, relax to the count of five, and then repeat the cycle two or three times. Extend this exercise in a manner noted above as you get stronger.

Good luck my friends, I know exercise is not easy when your feeling poorly, but believe me... it will help you.

Enjoy your day,


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