The aim of pulmonary rehab is to keep you active if you have a lung condition. Pulmonary rehab is a program of treatment which teaches you how to manage your symptoms and your condition. It also teaches you how to look after your lungs through exercise.

You may also be offered oxygen therapy if the levels of oxygen in your blood are low. Oxygen therapy can help you to walk further than you are currently doing. It can also increase your life expectancy.

A pulmonary rehab treatment course tends to last between six and eight weeks and a team of specialists including, occupational therapists, nurses and physiotherapists will help you through the treatment.

Professionals will help you to manage the condition that you have by giving you advice and specific exercises to complete.

The benefits of pulmonary rehab

There are many benefits to having pulmonary rehab. For example:

  • You will learn how to manage your condition and understand it better.
  • You will be able to improve your level of fitness so you can complete everyday tasks easier.
  • It will help you to improve your muscle strength. This way the oxygen you take in will be used in an efficient way and reduce the breathlessness that you feel.
  • You will get to learn more about your condition.
  • Your wellbeing will improve.
  • You will learn how to eat better as you will be taught about healthy eating.
  • The therapy will help you to stay out of the hospital as it can reduce the progression of the disease.
Elderly man working out on treadmill during pulmonary rehab session

Although pulmonary rehab is not a cure, you will feel better for having the treatment.  The rehab will help you to get the best out of your lungs and make you feel less breathless when you’re doing everyday activities.

The different exercises you may do

In general, there are four kinds of exercises used during pulmonary rehab:

Breathing exercises

Breathing exercises are designed to help you strengthen your breathing muscles, breathe easier and take in more oxygen. There are two kinds of breathing exercises and physical therapy techniques. These are diaphragmatic breathing and pursed-lip breathing.

Stretching and strengthening exercises in pulmonary rehab

Stretching exercises are designed to increase your flexibility as well as lengthen your muscles. As for strengthening exercises, you will tighten your muscles until they feel tired. By doing this, strength of the muscles you use for breathing will improve.

Aerobic exercises

Aerobic exercises improve the endurance of your lungs and your heart. A stationary exercise bike and walking are good examples of these aerobic exercises. The aerobic exercises used in pulmonary rehab help your body to use oxygen in a better way and at the time, your breathing will also improve.

Who needs the treatment?

If you have breathing difficulties due to a lung condition which affects how active you are, pulmonary rehab would be beneficial to you. This may include lung conditions such as:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Asthma
  • Pulmonary fibrosis

Even if you need oxygen to manage your condition, you can still have pulmonary rehab.

This content comprises informative and educational resources only and can not be considered as a substitute for professional health or medical guidance. Reliance on any information provided in this article is solely at your own risk. If you have any inquiries or apprehensions about your medical condition or health goals, talk with a licensed physician or healthcare provider.