Importance of exercise in Chronic Lung Disease

Cycle of inactivity

Inactivity cycle

Feeling breathless can lead to a fear of activities that cause an increase in breathlessness. As a result, these activities are avoided and the patient becomes less active overall.

Muscles weaken, including respiratory muscles and large muscles of arms and legs. Weak muscles are less efficient and use more oxygen which in turn causes an increase in breathlessness. Inactivity can result in a downward spiral and an increase in breathlessness.

This is preventable and partially reversible by doing specific exercise.

Importance of exercise in chronic lung disease

Inner circle:

Before Pulmonary Rehabilitation

The inner circle relates to the circle of inactivity that many patients go through.

Breathless on exertion > Anxiety and panic > Exercise avoidance > Physical deconditioning > Breathless on exertion

Animated outer circle:

After Pulmonary Rehabilitation

The outer circle demonstrates the benefits of exercise.

Sensation of breathlessness reduced > Rehabilitation & conditioning > Increased physical exertion > Increased confidence > Less breathless on exertion > Sensation of breathlessness reduced