Spiral of Inactivity

Inactivity Downward Spiral

  • A person first feels short of breath from moderate exertion.
  • Then they avoid certain activities to control or avoid shortness of breath.
  • Lack of activity causes muscles to weaken. Weak muscles use more oxygen than strong ones.
  • Soon they feel short of breathe from mild exercise.
  • Then they avoid other activities that make them feel short of breath.
  • As the body weakens further, they become short of breath when doing every day activities such as bathing and showering.

Tips to Break the Cycle

  • Find somewhere to walk. This can be your driveway, hallway, or out in the street.
  • You should try to walk each day, or at least three or four times a week.
  • Start off very slowly and increase gradually.
  • It is suggested to start walking for 2 minutes per day for the first week, and then increase by at least one minute each week
    until you are walking for about 15 – 20 minutes.
  • You may need to start with longer exercise times.
  • Start walking on level ground and as you become conditioned, then walk up gradual inclines.
  • You may use a stationary bike as well.

Important Reminders

  • Talk about your exercise plan with your health care provider.
  • It is normal to feel breathless as you exercise, but not so short of breath that you are unable to speak.
  • You want to maintain a controlled breathing pattern and if you begin to feel distressed, stop for a short time until your breath returns to normal then restart at a slower pace.
  • Remember to take your inhalers or your portable oxygen with you on these excursions.
  • Always stretch your muscles prior to and after walking.
  • Remember some of you have not used these muscles for some time!
  • Record the time you walk, distance (number of lamp-posts, fences etc.) and the number of stops you made on the way. This will help to see your improvement!

Why Walking is Helpful

  • You use many of the muscles in your body, including your heart.
  • With gradual exercise, the muscle fibers become shorter, thus needing less oxygen.
  • It increases circulation, which means better oxygenation.
  • It uses your whole body and helps to improve your overall endurance level.
  • It allows you to better tolerate and enjoy other daily and recreational activities.

Some of this information was gathered from The Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program of Cheshire Medical Center, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene. For more information go to http://www.cheshire-med.com/programs/pulrehab/rehman/Activities.html

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Spiral of Inactivity Inactivity Downward Spiral A person first feels short of breath from moderate exertion. Then they avoid certain activities to control or avoid shortness of breath. Lack of activity causes muscles to weaken. Weak muscles use more oxygen than strong ones. Soon they feel short of breathe from mild exercise. Then they avoid […] > Read More