Can Yoga Help When You Have COPD?
Many people who suffer from COPD find it hard to exercise. But not exercising worsens their lung condition rapidly, which makes it even more difficult to perform any kind of activity. This way they find themselves in a vicious circle where they feel there is no escape from. Especially for these people yoga is the best exercise, as it is a low impact activity that improves your physical as well as your emotional health. It reduces stress and anxiety, increases relaxation and self-confidence, and improves fitness in general.
Yoga can help relieve the symptoms of COPD
Yoga has its roots in Eastern philosophy, and many people still think it is mainly a spiritual and religious experience. But most yoga classes for people with health problems do not focus on this at all. It is mainly a “mind-body practice”, as the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine describes it., which is especially beneficial for people with COPD. The American Journal of Therapeutics published a study performed in 2012, that showed these benefits clearly. In this study a group of 33 COPD patients followed a yoga class given by a certified yoga therapist for six weeks in sessions of one hour, three times a week. They were taught yoga postures, breathing exercises and meditation techniques. After the six weeks, the medical tests showed an improvement in lung function and the patients themselves reported that their overall quality of life had improved significantly.
Yoga offers various benefits for people with COPD
First of all, it is an easy way to exercise. Most exercises are stationary and performed sitting or standing. These physical postures, also called asanas, encourage your flexibility and build up your physical strength, thus helping you to increase your exercise tolerance. Yoga classes set up for COPD patients do not contain complicated poses, but just gentle stretching and bending exercises, designed especially with the health needs of people with COPD in mind. Together with the breathing exercises, the so-called pranayamas, which will teach you how to manage attacks of breathlessness, they will give you all the tools you need to effectively manage both your physical and your emotional well-being. All the techniques are normally easy enough to also practice at home.
Second, there is the social interaction you will be able to build up with your fellow students. You can exchange experiences with others in the same or similar condition as you are, so the feeling of isolation, being one of a kind, will reduce. And the mere fact of spending time with other people on a regular basis will undoubtedly help improve your overall mood, as it does to all of us. This makes it a fun sociable activity, which should be easy to keep up!
And last, but may be not least, it can be a big help to those COPD patients that, despite their disease, cannot manage to quit smoking. Trying to stop this habit can lead to stress and anxiety, which does not help the condition of especially COPD patients, and may even have an adverse effect. Practicing yoga can be a big help in relieving these stress symptoms caused by smoking cessation and increase the chance of a successful attempt to quit. This is a suggestion endorsed by the American Lung Association.
Yoga is a safe way of exercise for people with lung diseases
Especially for people suffering from emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and other lung diseases that are generally known as COPD, yoga is one of the best ways to keep a health condition as good as possible through exercise. Of course, before you begin, consult with your doctor and ask his advice. Maybe he or she will also know certified yoga teachers in your neighbourhood with good credentials for training COPD patients. And always remember to keep your inhaler at hand, just in case. With these precautions taken, nothing stands in your way to improve your physical and mental wellbeing with the aid of yoga!
A team of researchers in America have developed and are currently testing out a table that may be able to help patients that suffer from the effects of COPD.
The team consists of people from all disciplines that have come together to pool their knowledge of COPD and patient’s pulmonary care and treatment to help these patients to improve their breathing.
The table is based on a gravity-powered approach to improve ventilation as well as helping to clear mucus. The table appears stable but in fact rocks forward and backwards with weight. The person on the exercise table lifts and pulls a bar while rocking the table forward
As the person pushes away the table then rocks backward resulting in the person’s feet being higher than their head. This movement forces air out of the lungs, which is normally difficult for a COPD patient to do and therefore reduces the difficulty of breathing for the patient. This approach also uses gravity to help the tiny hairs in the lungs to move the mucus along the trachea as well as the gravity also helping to move the lymphatic fluid out of the lungs. The movement of the abdominal viscera also moves the diaphragm which also reduces the effort of breathing.
The table not only aids the lungs and breathing but also benefits the rest of the body. The gravity effect on the body results in the drainage of lymphatic fluid from the arms and legs, improving circulation and reducing swelling.
One of the founders of the company is himself a COPD sufferer and says that the table has alleviated his symptoms greatly but the table is currently being vigorously tested in trials.
Lung disease kills over 60,000 British people every year, with Lung cancer, COPD and asthma being the biggest killers. A healthy diet can slow the damaging effects of smoking and prevent lung cancer from spreading. Lung cancer and COPD are mostly caused by the effects of smoking but a healthy diet of fruit and vegetables may help to prevent the DNA-damaging effects of tobacco smoke as well as helping to prevent cancer from spreading, slow down the progression of COPD and improve lung function. Tobacco smoke contains chemicals that weaken the body’s immune system, making it more susceptible to disease and handicapping its ability to destroy cancer cells. But the smoke can also damage cell DNA, increasing the chance of cancer cells forming and flourishing in the first place.
WALK YOUR WAY TO A LONGER LIFE:
The government recommends 150 minutes of moderate activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous activity spread across the week plus exercise to improve muscle strength at least twice a week.
Walking for 150 minutes a week reduces your mortality rate by 7% compared to being sedentary. Walking for 300 minutes a week reduces it by 14% and an hour-long walk each day reduces it by 24%.
THE POWER OF BROCCOLI:
Researchers asked some long-term smokers to eat a single stalk of broccoli a day. It was found that they suffered 41% fewer DNA mutations during the study. Compounds in broccoli also have the potential to suppress the spread of cancer by preventing the cancer cells from grouping-up together.
THE FEAR OF FRYING:
It is thought that a quarter of lung cancer cases may be caused by carcinogens in the fumes when you are frying. When any fat is heated to frying temperature toxic chemicals are released, which can cause genetic mutations. A study of women in China found that smokers who stir-fried meat every day had nearly three times the odds of lung cancer compared with smokers who stir-fried non-meat foods.
The fumes produced by frying bacon contain carcinogens called nitrosamines. Though all meat may release potentially carcinogenic fumes, processed meat such as bacon may be the worst. A study found bacon fumes cause four times more DNA mutations than the fumes from beef burgers fried at similar temperatures. If you must fry, use a barbecue. Studies show that the number of particles deposited into the lungs increases tenfold when frying indoors as opposed to outdoors.
EATING KALE IS AS GOOD AS RUNNING:
Researchers asked men with high cholesterol to take 3 shots of kale juice a day for 3 months and the kale lowered their bad cholesterol (LDL) and boosted their good cholesterol levels (HDL) to the same levels as if they had run 300 miles. It also increased the levels of antioxidants in the subject’s blood. Except in the smoking group as cigarettes create free radicals which counteract this and deplete the body of antioxidants.
MEAT VS VEGETABLES:
One study has found that consumption of cured meat such as bacon, ham, sausage and salami may increase the risk of COPD due to the nitrate preservatives in meat.
In 2010 another study monitored 2 groups; one group kept their normal diet and the other group boosted their fruit and vegetable consumption. Over the next couple of years the first group found that their COPD grew progressively worse whereas the second group found that their disease progression was halted and their lung function had improved. The researchers suggested this could be due to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of the fruit and veg, along with a reduced consumption of meat, which is thought to act as a pro-oxidant.
A study of more than 100,000 adults in India found that those who consumed meat daily, or even occasionally, were more likely to suffer from asthma than those who excluded meat and eggs from their diets altogether. Researchers removed fruits and vegetables from asthma patients’ diets to see what would happen and within two weeks their symptoms worsened. In contrast when they increased fruit and vegetable consumption to seven servings a day the subjects’ exacerbation rate halved.
Researchers in Sweden decided to test out a plant-based diet on a group of 35 severe asthmatics who weren’t getting better despite the best medical therapies. Of the 24 patients who stuck with the plant-based diet, 70% improved considerably after four months and 90% improved within a year.
From all the studies being carried out, all the evidence seems to point to the fact that a plant-based diet is immensely good for you, if you have lung conditions such as cancer, COPD and asthma and that potentially reducing meat and egg consumption may also be beneficial to your health and aid in halting disease progression, reducing exacerbations, improving lung function and preventing the spread of cancer.
COPD includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis and asthma and is often related to smoking. Common symptoms include difficulty breathing, chronic coughing, wheezing and phlegm production and over time can prove fatal.
Regular exercise could help boost the survival of people who’ve left the hospital after being admitted following an exacerbation. The risk of hospital readmission and death is especially high after a person has been hospitalized for COPD.
“We know that physical activity can have a positive benefit for people with COPD and these findings confirm that it may reduce the risk of dying following hospitalization,” says Dr. Marilyn Moy from Harvard Medical School.
Having a difficulty to breathe often leads to a more sedentary and immobile lifestyle for patients and results in de-conditioning of multiple organ systems including the heart and muscles. It also results in a greater reliance on supplemental oxygen and medications and a general decrease in health. Improving muscle function with exercise has been demonstrated to decrease the chance of readmission to hospital. Exercise can avoid microscopic lung collapse and sedentary patients have a greater risk of developing blood clots.
Researchers in a Californian study found that those who did any amount of moderate to vigorous physical activity were nearly half less likely to die in the 12 months after hospitalisation than inactive patients. Even low levels of exercise reduced the risk by over 25%. The researchers believe that tracking physical activity levels might be a good way for doctors to pinpoint those COPD patients at high risk for death after hospitalization.
According to Dr Mensch, “COPD has now joined other chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular conditions, where exercise has been shown to decrease mortality and prolong life.” This is particularly important for COPD as GPs have little to offer patients to help lower disease-linked death risk.
Another study in Australia has also shown that physical activity undertaken in small intervals spaced throughout the day can safely and markedly improve the health of people with COPD. The study established that 150 minutes of exercise per week is
most effective in reducing cardiovascular and metabolic disease, the development of cancer, and overall mortality.
Evidence shows that exercise can greatly improve the physical state and quality of life of COPD patients, reducing their breathlessness, and improving energy levels. Setting feasible exercise goals that incorporate physical activity into everyday tasks is a recommended option for COPD patients. The use of portable oxygen concentrators can help patients achieve these goals as these oxygen units allow the patients to move around with their oxygen supply whether indoors or outdoors and not be tethered to their oxygen tanks so they can move around, go for walks or exercise.
Researchers suggested that, in addition to trying to perform light exercises everyday, patients should focus on the reduction of sedentary behaviour, such as trying to spend less time sitting and taking short walks. Minor walks taken after sitting for a considerable time without breaks is highly recommended as for people with severe disease simple goals like this may be a more realistic place to start that trying to go for a 30 minute walk each day.
References: http://health.usnews.com and http://copdnewstoday.com
For those that suffer with chronic conditions such as COPD one of the major symptoms that patients suffer with is fatigue and it is important to try and combat this as mobility and exercise is crucial to help curb the disease and its symptoms. Oxygen therapy has been shown to help combat fatigue as the additional oxygen getting into your blood stream will help to supply more oxygen to your cells to help them to function more efficiently and your brain and body in general will feel more alert and active. However if oxygen therapy does not combat your fatigue then eating carnitine-enriched foods or by taking carnitine supplements, could help to combat this.
Our bodies produce carnitine naturally in most of our cells from amino acids and it plays a crucial role in energy production within the mitochondria of our cells. It is thought that faulty mitochondria play a vital role in diseases such as COPD and that this may be the cause of the fatigue experienced by patients with chronic conditions as the mitochondria cannot perform its duties and one of these is to produce energy for the cell.
Carnitine transports fatty acids to the mitochondria so they can use it to produce energy and also helps to transport waste products out of the mitochondria to prevent buildup.
A lack of carnitine in our body could be due to a genetic problem or due to metabolic disturbances caused by disease but normally it is produced in sufficient amounts in the liver and kidneys. It has other properties such as being an antioxidant and fights off free radicals, which can damage the cells.
Supplements can be taken or there are foods that contain high levels of carnitine such as beef steak and other red meats, milk, chicken breast and cheddar cheese.
A recent study looking at the effect of taking carnitine when suffering from conditions such as COPD found that ‘these supplements can reduce significantly the fatigue and other symptoms associated with chronic disease and can naturally restore mitochondrial function, even in long-term patients with intractable fatigue.” Other studies have also shown that carnitine supplementation can help with blood supply problems, heart defects and attacks and Alzeihmer’s. Even athletes use carnitine supplementation to help improve performance and reduce muscle fatigue.
The summer and holiday season is only round the corner, looking forward to swimming in the villa pool or in the sea. For those suffering with lung disorders requiring oxygen therapy this may seem like a fantasy, but it doesn’t have to be.
If you have lung problems swimming could be the perfect exercise for you. As your body is floating it’s less strenuous on your breathing and can help to improve your fitness and breathing. It’s so beneficial that it even helps people who suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). People with COPD have a decreased lung capacity and get less oxygen with every breath than healthy people; therefore they tire out more quickly with just regular activities like walking or vacuuming. But those who exercise in a pool or swim lightly often end up with less breathlessness and can walk longer on land because of their lungs becoming stronger. It is a form of exercise that you can control, you can stop and start when you wish and go at a speed that suits you.
If you swim regularly at a private pool to improve your confidence and fitness then swimming on holiday won’t be an issue and you can enjoy your holiday more.
You may think that it is impossible to combine oxygen therapy and swimming but there are those that have managed it with some handy hints to share:
• Go to the swimming pool at a quiet time or when there is a slow lane available. Sometimes the swimming pool offers lessons or times for disabled or poor swimmers.
• You can have your POC at the side of the pool ready to use if you feel short of breath.
• Start off slow and don’t push yourself too hard or fast. It will take time to build up your lung strength and fitness.
• You can get extra tubing to use with your cylinder and ask someone to walk alongside you in the pool to carry your cylinder as you do laps. You can ask your provider for spare tubing and cannula that you can use as a spare ‘swimming set’. Check with the pool staff first to ensure they don’t mind you doing this.
• You can walk to and from the pool to increase your exercise and use your oxygen on the way there and on the way home and have it by the pool, so if necessary you can use it after each lap. As your fitness improves you will hopefully use it less and less.
• You can get an inflatable cushion and have your oxygen machine floating alongside you as you swim if you need oxygen constantly. Many find they can still use it in shallow and calm sea water too so you can swim in the sea on your holiday.
• If you’re worried about the warmth and humidity of an indoor pool severely affecting your breathing you can go and visit and sit by the poolside with your oxygen to ‘test the waters’ first.
• There may be an option for you to use your rehab pool at the hospital for a while so that you can get used to swimming in a more controlled environment which will help with your confidence before venturing to a public pool, ask your doctor about options.
• There are water-proof cases that you can buy for your oxygen cylinder so that you can have it in the water with you.
• Start off slowly with just floating, walking around and exercises before moving onto short bursts of swimming and then onto laps. Do what you’re comfortable with doing and progress at your own speed.
• Please note: Some indoor pools with water that contain a high level of chlorine and have bad ventilation might do you lungs more harm than good.
Obviously it depends upon the stage and severity of your lung condition and your reliability upon your oxygen and which equipment you use but there are options and ways around it. For most people they are able to take up swimming using these handy hints and find that after a period of time their fitness improves both in the water and on land and they become less reliant upon their oxygen. Also it means that you can then swim on holiday and enjoy the sun, sea and sand more!
If you require oxygen still on holiday whilst swimming or just want to have a back-up POC nearby on the shore or by the pool side then there are global oxygen supply companies that can supply these for you whilst you are on holiday in whichever country you’d like to visit.
References: www.healthunlocked.com and http://copdathlete.com
Seeing as breathing is such a vital and fundamental part of our lives, one might think that we do it correctly, however we often don’t. We tend to take shallow breaths and hold our breaths when focusing or under pressure. This lowers our oxygen levels causing fatigue and a lack of clarity and we can make poor decisions and perform poorly as a result. Sitting still in an office chair can also create an oxygen deficit and it is the reason why after vegging-out in front of the TV we feel exhausted even though we haven’t done anything strenuous.
Oxygen thins the blood slightly which helps to lower your blood pressure and speed up the blood flow. This increases your metabolism and burns more calories, therefore the more oxygen you have in your blood, the faster your metabolism will be. You also burn more calories sitting outside than you do sat indoors, as cool air increases your metabolism as it tries to expend more energy keeping your body at a comfortable temperature. Therefore it is more beneficial to exercise outside than indoors.
If you’re unable to exercise then deep, active breathing for a couple of minutes a day can increase your oxygen intake, reduce stress, strengthen muscles and burn more calories.
Also oxygen helps to break down fat molecules and the blood then picks up the waste carbon dioxide to transport it out of the body via the lungs, therefore the more oxygen we take in, the more fat molecules that can be burned off.
‘Oxycise’ is the latest weight loss programme sweeping across America claiming to transform body shape, shed pounds, improve muscle tone and boost energy level based on the information above. Instead of doing high impact aerobic exercise, Oxycise breathing techniques can be done anywhere. The deep breathing forces us to use more of our lungs, to tighten and strengthen the diaphragm muscles which makes our muscles contract and combined with some gentle exercises can burn fat and tone up muscles. A study even found that a women burned 140% more calories than riding an exercise bike.
However sceptics say that breathing too deeply is harmful as it can ‘disturb the balance between carbon dioxide and oxygen needed to neutralise the blood and can cause light headiness and fainting’ and that deep breathing is not going to burn enough calories to transform body shape, it may burn up 2% fat at best, Prof McDonald states.
The jury’s still out without more detailed studies and research but it’s an idea to definitely think about as it is such an easy technique that we can all do.
References: http://www.womensperfectbody.com and http://www.dailymail.co.uk