Helpful Breathing Exercises for COPD to Ease Symptoms

Woman on her back in a yoga position

COPD can make day-to-day life a battle. The positive news, however, is that there are breathing exercises for COPD that can help alleviate the symptoms and enhance quality of life. These exercises help make the diaphragm and abdominal muscles stronger, so seniors with COPD can take in more oxygen and expend less effort into breathing. 

Practice these breathing exercises for COPD for 5-10 minutes several times every day. 

Pursed-Lip Breathing

Practice this technique so you can use it when exercising or other physical activities such as climbing stairs or carrying groceries.

  1. Sit in a chair and relax your shoulders and neck. 
  2. Take a normal breath in through your nose with your mouth closed. 
  3. Purse your lips as though you were about to whistle, then breathe out gently and slowly for four seconds through your pursed lips. If four seconds seems too long, try to breathe out for twice as long as you inhale. 
  4. Repeat for a minute or so, as long as it’s comfortable.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

  1. Lie down on your back on a firm bed or the floor with your knees bent. Support your knees and head with pillows. 
  2. Place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. 
  3. Take a deep breath through your nose to a count of three. Use your hands to make sure that your belly rises while your chest remains still. 
  4. Tighten your abdominal muscles, then breathe out through slightly pursed lips to the count of six. Check that the chest remains still. 
  5. Repeat for five to ten minutes as tolerated. 

Controlled Coughing

This tactic can be used in conjunction with diaphragmatic breathing to help clear mucus from the airways.

  1. Hold onto a tissue and sit upright in a comfortable chair. Lean your head slightly forward. Set both feet firmly on the floor.
  2. Use diaphragmatic breathing to breathe in deeply. Try to hold your breath for three seconds. 
  3. Place one hand on your belly underneath your ribs. Press it lightly in and up toward your diaphragm while coughing once. This should help move the mucus up into your throat. Cough once again to clear the mucus from your throat. 
  4. Spit the mucus into a tissue. 
  5. Rest for a minute or two and repeat as necessary. Be sure to properly wash your hands when you have finished. 

At Heaven at Home Senior Care, our compassionate care professionals are fully trained and experienced in supporting those with COPD with exercising, along with a full range of in-home care services, so we’re more than equipped to help with breathing exercises for COPD. Reach out to us online or at 940-380-0500 to learn more about how we can help with our senior care in Denton, TX and the nearby areas.