Learning breathing control can improve your lung efficiency and this will help you to feel better. But to achieve the full rehabilitation benefits, it is important that you also rehabilitate your cardiac and peripheral muscle function. There is only one way to do this and that is by a progressive exercise program.
Many pulmo rehab programs have a large emphasis on exercise, with formal classes of exercise training using equipment such as bicycle ergometers, treadmills, structured walking or stair climbing supervised by experts. These programs have documented considerable patient rehab benefits. This is an excellent way to effectively begin your rehab program.
Unfortunately there are some major snags with these formal exercise programs. First: they may not be available to your or may be inconvenient for you to attend. Second: ideally, exercise should be done every day for efficient rehab and many programs meet only two or three times during the working week and very rarely on weekends. Third: most formal programs are limited to only two or three months by insurance payments, and long term follow up is not paid for by most insurance plans. And last but not least.... formal exercise is frequently boring and unpleasant. The exercise training required will produce dyspnea and we all know this is not a pleasant experience. These problems are compounded especially if you are doing exercises that you do not enjoy or if you are exercising at home and are no longer in a supportive rehab environment to encourage you. Sadly enough for these reasons most patients stop exercising within a year or so. This is very unfortunate because what you had initially gained by exercise, you will now gradually lose. "If you don't use it, you will lose it".
In my next BLOG I will tell you about the alternatives to formal exercise programs and for long term follow-up exercise.
I hope you will join me. And please, add any comments or questions that you may have for me. In the meantime....