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Using exercise to manage Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

By Nancy DeHart

At LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic we help our members to make lifestyle changes to improve their health and fitness. We call ourselves a medical fitness clinic and are firm believers that Exercise is Medicine and are leaders in the exercise is medicine movement within Canada.

Regular exercise is helpful to prevent, treat and manage many of the chronic diseases that currently plague our 24/7, sedentary society where we are moving less and less in our day to day lives than ever before.

People who suffer from lung and respiratory conditions such as asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) often fear exercise or feel they just cannot do it due to breathlessness and fatigue. As a result, they often avoid physical activity becoming even more exercise intolerant, leading to an inactive lifestyle which can make their disease worse.

But physicians are now recommending that exercise and regular physical activity be part of the clinical management of patients with chronic respiratory disease. Supervised exercise can improve exercise endurance and help improve shortness of break and quality of life for patients with COPD.

Just ask Lise F. of Vancouver. A smoker who grew up in a smoking home, Lise was diagnosed with COPD in her early 40s. She finally quit smoking at 49 by which time her breathing had become very difficult and she was referred to a pulmonary rehabilitation program in Vancouver. She was also diagnosed with heart disease. Eventually she was referred to LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic and recently became a member of our East Van location.

In just six months, Lise has reduced her cholesterol and blood pressure medications has lost 10% of her overall body weight. She is now using regular exercise to help manage her COPD.

Recently Lise was profiled by the BC Lung Association so her story might motivate others living with lung conditions to adopt a healthier lifestyle and try regular exercise. Congratulations Lise! We are sure you will continue to inspire others to do the most they can to manage their lung disease.

Nancy DeHart, is a health writer and LIVE WELL'S Director of Marketing and Communications