Fitting exercise into our lives
The benefits of exercise and the importance to our overall health of reducing sitting time is widely recognised and now the COVID-19 restrictions are easing in WA, it will be safer and easier to get out for a bit of exercise!
Get the motivation, and make a commitment
- Have a goal – start at an easy pace and build up as you get stronger.
- Understand why exercise is important for your lung condition: your muscles become deconditioned and need more oxygen to break down the lactic acid resulting from movement. Not taking exercise increases the risk of loss of mobility and independence.
- Avoid the downward spiral where the less you do, the less you can do.
- If you feel too weak to begin, start by preparing your muscles with some gentler home exercises or a Pilates class.
- Don’t give up!
What is best for me?
Pulmonary rehabilitation physiotherapists recommend:
- Walking 20-30 minutes a day, 3-5 days a week
- Leg strengthening exercises
- Arm exercises with weights
Exercises that are aerobic, make you breathless, help strengthen muscles and help move the mucus in your lungs.
Maintaining strong muscles, bones and joints in your legs will help you to reduce your risk of falling and maintain your movement and flexibility. Everyday movements such as gardening and cleaning can help to keep your muscles working and your body strong.
Find an exercise class
Some people can motivate themselves to exercise on their own. Others need a group to keep motivated and stay regular. Groups include:
- WA Health’s Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program
- Prime Movers
- Living Longer Living Stronger
- Mall Walking at local shopping centres
A comprehensive directory can be found at https://www.stayonyourfeet.com.au.
When to walk?
- Find the best time of day – for some it’s the morning, for others, it’s after dinner.
- Others like to walk during the middle of the day when it’s warmer, especially during winter.
- If it’s too hot, cold or wet, exercise inside or at home.
Where to walk?
- Bush, including a bush walking group, though this can be too steep for some
- Coastal walks, near rivers and lakes eg Bold Park, Kings Park, Perry Lakes, Tomato Lake
- Fremantle, around the old buildings
- Shopping centres, with a coffee afterwards
- Walking groups
- In the neighbourhood where it’s flat
- Optus Stadium and the bridge over the Swan Matagarup Bridge
- In the city – usually easy to get public transport to and from
Staying fit and healthy is important for everyone, but even more so for people living with a lung condition. With the right support you can fit exercise into your daily life. Most of all, enjoy your exercise – you will feel better for it!
From Breath of L I F E Winter 2020, page 27