Diaphragmatic Strengthening Exercises for COPD

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These diaphragmatic strengthening exercises for COPD can help ease symptoms of the disease.

COPD can make the daily tasks of life feel like a struggle. The positive news is that there are diaphragmatic strengthening exercises for COPD that may help ease the symptoms and enhance quality of life.

San Diego Home Caregivers, a leading provider of in-home care in Carlsbad and the surrounding areas, outlines how to breathe from the diaphragm along with recommended exercises to help strengthen the diaphragm and abdominal muscles, so those with COPD can take in more oxygen and put less effort into breathing. 

Practice these tactics for 5-10 minutes several times a day. 

Diaphragmatic Breathing

  1. Lie on your back on the floor or a firm bed with the knees bent. Support your head and knees with pillows. 
  2. Put one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. 
  3. Take a deep breath through your nose to the count of three. Use your hands to make sure that your belly rises while your chest remains still. 
  4. Tighten your stomach muscles, and then breathe out through slightly pursed lips to the count of six. Confirm that your chest stays still. 
  5. Repeat for 5-10 minutes as tolerated. 

Controlled Coughing

This technique can be used along with diaphragmatic breathing to help clear mucus from the airways.

  1. Hold onto a tissue and sit upright in a comfortable chair. Bend your head slightly forward. Set your feet firmly on the floor.
  2. Use diaphragmatic breathing to inhale deeply. Try to hold your breath for three seconds. 
  3. Place one hand on your stomach under your ribs. Press it gently in and up toward the diaphragm while coughing once. This should help to move the mucus up into your throat. Cough once again to clear the mucus from your throat. 
  4. Spit out the mucus into a tissue. 
  5. Rest for a minute or two and repeat as needed. Be sure to thoroughly wash your hands when you are finished. 

Pursed-Lip Breathing

Practice this technique so you can use it when exercising or performing physical activity like climbing stairs or carrying groceries.

  1. Sit in a chair and relax your neck and shoulders. 
  2. Take a normal breath in through your nose with the mouth closed. 
  3. Purse your lips as though you were about to whistle, then breathe out slowly and gently for four seconds through your pursed lips. If four seconds seems to be too long, try to breathe out for twice as long as you inhale. 
  4. Repeat for a minute or so, as long as it’s comfortable. 

Breathe Easier With Help From San Diego Home Caregivers!

At San Diego Home Caregivers, our care experts are fully trained and experienced in supporting those with COPD with exercising along with a wide range of in-home care services, such as:

  • Providing motivation and encouragement to practice these and other exercises and deep breathing for COPD
  • Helping with light housekeeping and laundry to reduce dust and other pollutants in the air
  • Making sure that medications are taken exactly as prescribed
  • Providing transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments and fun outings
  • Running errands, such as grocery shopping and picking up prescriptions
  • Preparing nutritious meals and snacks
  • Offering friendly companionship for engaging activities and conversations
  • And so much more

Reach out to us at (619) 487-9000 to learn more about how our in-home care in Carlsbad, San Diego, La Jolla, and the surrounding areas can help.