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.
- 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