Activity and pacing

NHS Scotland PR class

© Crown Copyright 2013

Retaining an active life style is very important in managing respiratory illness.

  • Pulmonary Rehabilitation is a specific programme involving exercise. PR can help to teach pacing and encourages activity. After PR maintaining activity is essential in order not to lose the benefits.
  • Getting out every day to take exercise is important.  Walking or swimming, attending an organised group, exercise class or exercising alone is good to prevent illness and maintain lifestyle. All exercise aims to reduce tiredness and increase the ability to cope with breathlessness.
  • It is also important to include some muscle strengthening tasks. Either using light weights or carrying shopping. This helps to strengthen core muscles which in turn can help breathing and overall stamina.
  • Sitting on a couch is comfortable and avoids uncomfortable symptoms but this allows overall health and lung health to deteriorate.
  • Activity should be planned. Taking rests when needed. For example walking outdoors especially if there is a small hill. Doing housework in stages.
  • Pacing is a way to manage the energy the person has so that they use that energy for the tasks which are important to them. One analogy is if you want to open a door you turn the handle and push the door gently. Similarly with exercise people should push forward gently.  Strike a balance between exercise or activity and rest.
  • Remember, breathlessness is normal and settles. However patients/clients need to learn to avoid becoming distressed by breathlessness.