July 28, 2016

‘Spring’ back into action

Emma Gainer, Program Manager – Lungs in Action, Lung Foundation Australia 

Patient Story Margaret Aug editionDid you find it hard to get out and about this winter? If you found yourself not exercising or not exercising as often, now is the time to ‘spring’ back into it. Exercise is an important part of managing a chronic lung condition and Lung Foundation Australia encourages pulmonary rehabilitation as the first step, followed by an ongoing exercise maintenance program like Lungs in Action to maintain the great gains. Pulmonary rehabilitation programs generally consist of eight weeks of exercise and education. These sessions are evidence-based and designed specifically
for people with chronic lung conditions to better manage their symptoms and stay well and out of hospital.
If you are looking for inspiration, take a leaf out of Margaret Catlin’s book. Despite living with COPD, the weather can’t keep Margaret from attending Lungs in Action at Colac’s Blue Water Fitness Centre. Since completing pulmonary rehabilitation last year, she has not missed a class, although Margaret does admit that attending regularly has its challenges.

She said, “It is a struggle that’s for sure, but it’s once a week and I’m committed to the cause. I know I am going to feel better for it.” Margaret’s motivation has been the continued physical benefits she gets through engaging in regular exercise.

“I used to walk for two minutes and be exhausted. Now I walk for 10 minutes and I’m still exhausted afterwards but I feel so much better for it,” she said. Combining the class with frequent walks, managing a household and regular baking, Margaret believes the benefits of attending the class don’t stop at the physical capabilities.

“The social interaction of being in a group of people going through the same thing is terrific. Everyone looks after everybody else and understands what you are dealing with. We only do what we can, but it’s better than nothing,” Margaret said.

For anyone considering starting a regular exercise class, Margaret advises to give it a go. “You’re only going to benefit from it. You are supported at every session by a qualified instructor who can help regardless of what condition you have or the situation you are in. You won’t regret it,” she said.

If you haven’t been exercising, it is important that you see your GP or respiratory specialist about getting back into it, and discuss your eligibility for referral to either a pulmonary rehabilitation program, or a Lungs in Action class depending on your current circumstances. There are a number of pulmonary rehabilitation or Lungs in Action programs across the country. To find your nearest location, please call Lung Foundation Australia’s Information and Support Centre on freecall 1800 654 301.