Pulmonary Rehabilitation

People with COPD can reduce breathing problems with pulmonary rehabilitation, or PR. If you're interested in PR, make sure to ask your doctor about it at your next visit.


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Pulmonary rehab for your COPD

Pulmonary Rehab: The Timeline

When you begin PR, your rehab team will take a look at your abilities and needs and make a plan that's right for you. After your plan is created, you'll probably go to PR weekly. You'll also be encouraged to incorporate your plan into your routine at home, including exercises and lifestyle changes.

Most PR programs last a few months. Your personal PR plan may include exercise, nutrition, education, energy-conserving techniques, breathing strategies, counseling, and group support.

After a few months, you'll be tested to measure the effects PR has on your breathing, your symptoms, exercise level, and quality of life. Depending on the results, you will be encouraged to continue what you've learned on your own or talk to your doctor if there has been little to no improvement.

pulmonary rehab: the plan


You might start with monitored exercise, 3 times a week. Your PR team may design exercises for both your arms and legs.


Your team may recommend a healthy eating plan based on your weight. Read More  Being underweight or overweight can make it harder for you to breathe.


You may be taught how to manage your symptoms, especially what to do if you have an infection or your symptoms suddenly worsen. You may also learn more about vaccinations, smoking cessation, how to take your medications correctly, and how to use oxygen should you need it.

Energy-conserving Techniques

Get helpful tips for relieving stress and accomplishing everyday activities that may make it harder to breathe.

Breathing Strategies

Strategies to improve your breathing will be taught, such as pursed-lip breathing. You will learn to control your breathing, keeping your airways open longer.


Some people with COPD may be prone to depression, anxiety, and other emotional problems. You may find help with counseling or support groups.

pulmonary rehab: the benefits

  • Meeting others with COPD
  • Improving breathing techniques
  • Learning to function with COPD
  • Increasing ability to exercise
  • Learning healthy eating habits
  • Improving relaxation skills

Pulmonary Rehab: The Risks

While PR is usually safe, there may be risks associated with the exercise portion of the program. Always make sure to talk to your healthcare provider before starting any new exercise or physical activity. Read More  Any physical activity, especially when it's not done correctly, may cause injuries to your muscles or bones. Exercise may also increase your risk of having a heart-related problem, if you have other conditions such as heart disease.

Be sure to share your health information with your PR team at the start of your program. This information can help prevent the risks associated with PR.  Close