Lung disease and exercise

Research has shown that exercising is highly beneficial for people living with a chronic lung disease.

In fact, it is widely recognised that one of the best things you can do for yourself is regularly exercise to help maintain your fitness, improve your wellbeing and reduce symptoms such as breathlessness.

Exercising with a lung condition can be daunting; even scary. But it’s crucial for managing your lung condition, and with the right support, you can include regular exercise into your daily routine, and feel better for it.

Why it's important to exercise

Regular exercise will help to:

  • Improve your ability to do the activities needed for everyday tasks.
  • Reduce your breathlessness.
  • Improve your arm, body and leg muscle strength.
  • Clear mucus (or sputum) from your chest.
  • Improve your balance.
  • Improve your mood and make you feel more in control.
  • Make you more independent.
  • Assist your weight control.
  • Improve your bone density.
  • Reduce the need for hospital admission.

Things to remember

  • Before starting an exercise program, it is important to speak to your doctor or respiratory specialist to ensure you are medically clear to exercise.
  • You should aim to exercise for at least 30 minutes, five times a week. It’s important to note that you do not have to do all 30 minutes at once. For some people this will be achievable while others will need to break it up into smaller sessions. It’s important to talk with your health professional such as a physiotherapist about what type of exercise would suit you.
  • There are specialised exercise programs, such as pulmonary rehabilitation and Lungs in Action, which support people with a lung disease to exercise in a safe and friendly environment.