Pulmonary Rehab Exercise Equipment for Your Home

Bring Pulmonary Rehab Exercises to Your Home

If you're unable to participate in a traditional pulmonary rehabilitation program, there are some pulmonary rehab exercises that you can do at home, provided you have the right pulmonary rehab exercise equipment and the approval of your healthcare provider. Here are some great choices.

1

Treadmill

Weslo Cadence G 5.9 Treadmill
Courtesy of Amazon

Because many people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) become sedentary due to their symptoms, one of the primary goals of a pulmonary rehabilitation program is to get you up off the couch and moving again. One of the best ways to get moving is to walk, either on a treadmill or, if the weather permits, on an outdoor trail. A regular walking program not only helps you look and feel better, but it helps your body utilize oxygen more efficiently, builds your endurance, strengthens your muscles, and improves your sleep.

2

Recumbent Bicycle

Exerpeutic 900XL Extended Capacity Recumbent Bike with Pulse
Courtesy of Amazon

Another great way to get moving is to ride a stationary bicycle. Many people with COPD prefer a recumbent exercise bicycle because they are more comfortable and easier to get on and off of. Riding a stationary bicycle helps strengthen your leg muscles, improves your physical conditioning, and builds your endurance.

3

Airdyne Bicycle

Schwinn AD2 Airdyne Bike
Courtesy of Amazon

An alternative to the recumbent bicycle, an airdyne bicycle has a fan where the front wheel would normally be, using air to provide resistance. Two added pluses – the fan produces a wave of cool air during your workout to help prevent you from overheating, and it has handlebars that move in conjunction with the foot pedals, allowing you to get an upper body workout in at the same time as your lower body workout.

4

Upper Body Ergometer

MagneTrainer-ER Mini Exercise Bike Arm and Leg Exerciser

 Courtesy of Amazon.com

If you have COPD, it's not only important that you condition and strengthen your lower body, but your upper body, as well. An upper arm ergometer is an excellent way to condition the muscles of your upper body and get a cardio workout at the same time. It's also convenient to use, as many models actually sit on your tabletop. Most have an LED that displays your speed, distance traveled, calories burned, and elapsed time.

An upper body ergometer allows you to exercise your arms separately, rather than using a product like the airdyne bicycle that exercises your arms and legs at the same time, which may be difficult for some people. The ergometer is a great choice if you have an injury to your lower body, or if you're wheelchair bound.

5

Lightweight Dumbbells

Trademark Innovations Aquatic Exercise Dumbells - Set of 2 - For Water Aerobics

Courtesy of Amazon.com 

Most pulmonary rehab programs include some type of weight training with dumbbells. For pulmonary rehab exercises at home, lightweight dumbbells can be used to do arm, shoulder, and even back exercises. If you like swimming, you can even purchase dumbbells for use in the pool (pictured).

6

Exercise Bands

Courtesy of Amazon

Last but not least, no home pulmonary rehab exercise program would be complete without resistance training. One of the best – and least expensive – ways to accomplish this is by using exercise bands. Exercise bands come in different levels of tension, or resistance. The best way to approach training with them is to start with a lighter tension and work your way up as you gain strength.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can pulmonary rehab help lungs work better?

Yes, you can improve lung function by using pulmonary rehabilitation to learn how to manage lung disease and perform physical activities despite conditions such as COPD. Incorporating exercise, relaxation therapy, nutrition, and emotional support, pulmonary rehab helps you breathe better and improves your quality of life.

Do breathing exercises improve lung function in people with asthma?

Yes, you may be able to decrease your asthma symptoms and improve lung function by using breathing exercises. A variety of breathing exercises such as pranayama yoga breathing have been shown to improve asthma symptoms and make flare-ups less frequent.

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  1. American Lung Association. The basics of pulmonary rehabilitation. Updated July 13, 2020.

  2. Santino TA, Chaves GS, Freitas DA, Fregonezi GA, Mendonça KM. Breathing exercises for adults with asthmaCochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020;3(3):CD001277. Published 2020 Mar 25. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD001277.pub4