I would like to continue with my Activity & Exercise mini-series. If you are considering a home exercise device I would recommend one of the simpler and less expensive Stationary Bicycles. These devices are generally stable, and there is minimal danger of falling. Also if you become "short of breath" you are already seated. All you have to do is simply stop peddling, and brace your arms on the handles for rescue breathing control. As you first begin on the bicycle, adjust the tension so you can peddle with only minimal effort, and be able to maintain that peddling effort continuously for about two minutes. As you get stronger, try to gradually extend your peddling time to five minutes. When you can achieve that level of activity, then try applying slight increase in peddling tension. As you become more comfortable, try to gradually work up to ten minutes of continuous peddling, and do this preferably twice a day. A perfect place to put your exercise device would be in a room with a television or stereo to listen to music or news. This will avoid boredom while exercising. And it's always fun to exercise to music!!!
I feel that learning the proper breathing techniques are important with exercise, so I am going to go on to explain the "tricks" to breathing & exercise.
As with all exercise programs, the "trick" to progressive exercise success is learning how to recognize your dyspnea level that you know you can control with slow / deep breathing, or Pursed Lip Breathing. When you reach that point you should stop, regain your breathing comfort, and then continue with your exercise activity. If you continue beyond this breathing control point to levels of severe dyspnea, this makes it difficult to conrol and re-gain your breathing comfort. Be patient, this may take time, and sound very scarey... but gradually push your breathing control point to further effort. As your peripheral muscle strength improves you will find that you are capable of more exertion. This increased exertion capability will be done within dyspnea levels that you know you can control. If you have the skills to exert yourself, and be able to recognize your particular dyspnea control level, and then be able to manager your dyspnea, you will have the confidence to become progressively more active in whatever activity your are doing. This will be a wonderful feeling for you and a major step forward!
A few devices I would not recommend are treadmills or stepping devices for home use because of the danger of falling. Definately the minature trampoline devices are dangerous and should be avoided. As to arm weight training, avoid heavy weights. A pair of dumb-bells for upper extremity exercises is convenient, but they should not weigh more than five pounds, and one or two pounds is adequate for most individuals. Remember, you are basically not training for strength, but mainly for reconditioning and endurance.
I hope that I have given you some valuable information. That info that I pass on to you is all of my own life experiences in my day to day life with COPD/Emphysema.
Until next time my friends.... "Live Well & Breathe Well"