How will exercise help my Respiratory health?

Appropriately prescribed exercise is extremely beneficial for the health of your lungs and respiratory system through the following mechanisms:

  • Improving your breathing technique
  • Clearing mucus (or sputum) from your chest
  • Reducing your breathlessness during daily activities
  • Improving your heart and cardiovascular system health
  • Increasing your functional capacity
  • Improving your mood and mental health, helping to make you feel more in control
  • Assisting your weight control and reducing the risk of developing comorbidities


What type of exercise should I do?

Aerobic exercises, such as walking, running, cycling, rowing and swimming are the most beneficial for improving the health of your lungs and respiratory system. These exercises increase your heart rate to deliver more oxygen to your working muscles, which over time (with appropriately prescribed and progressed exercise) improves the efficiency and functional capacity of your respiratory system.

Similarly to cardiovascular conditions, respiratory patients often tend to be quite sedentary and inactive, therefore having reduced strength and muscle mass in the upper and lower body. Resistance training is vital to ensure you don’t become deconditioned and can maintain strength and endurance to enable your independence.

Exercising with a respiratory condition can be very daunting to begin with, especially if you have had a serious asthma attack, or have severe COPD. Accredited Exercise Physiologists are trained and experienced to ensure that you feel safe and comfortable throughout all of your exercise journey and are doing all of the right things to improve your condition.

Is there anything I should be wary of?

Depending on your current health level and some medications, you might only be suited to certain intensities of exercise. Our Accredited Exercise Physiologist, in conjunction with your GP or Respiratory specialist, will work with you to determine the right exercise type, intensity and duration to suit your current level. As you regularly exercise, your lungs and respiratory system will adapt and improve, allowing you to be able to exercise at a higher level.

If you have a severe respiratory condition requiring the use of a portable oxygen tank, there is likely to be further restrictions on exercising capability. However, this does not mean there is nothing you are able to do, and our Accredited Exercise Physiologist will work to find exercises that will not place you at any risk.

For conditions such as Asthma, it is very important that you bring along any reliever medication you might need (such as a Ventolin puffer).