Sadly, chronic lung diseases are on the rise in the United States. And that means more and more Americans now have to reconsider their perspective on physical activities. After all, chronic lung diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), make breathing so much more difficult. In turn, there’s less oxygen to go around. The less there is, the less energy and strength people have to move around or exert themselves.
But being able to move around and handle consistent, frequent physical activity is incredibly important! It helps increase the chances of living longer, getting better sleep, strengthening your bones and muscles, and improving your mental health and mood.
While it is more difficult for you if you have COPD to reach these benefits, especially in the dying hot summer weather, it is not impossible.
It won’t be easy.
Before you start thinking up summer exercising strategies, recognize that there are several barriers you’ll need to be aware of first:
- Expensive treatments — Keeping your COPD symptoms under control through therapy, medication, and other forms of treatments can add up and put a heavy burden on your wallet. However, they are necessary if you want to be able to function well enough to exercise.
- Social stigmatization — Unfortunately, COPD, alongside most other chronic diseases, is not well understood. Such diseases can require that you take time off to heal, but because many of their symptoms aren’t super obvious, that time off can just look like laziness to others. In turn, this can make you feel ashamed of being able to move some days and not on others.
- Relationship conflicts — You may have to deal with conflicts between your family, friends, and other loved ones as you learn by trial and error which ways are best to cope with COPD.
- Mental health issues — The inability to interact with the world around you in the same as others can be stressful and lead to mental health concerns like depression.
- Disease progression — As time goes on, COPD will worsen, so you’ll want to find ways of delaying the speed of that progression. That will help you stay well enough to move around as best as you can.
There are ways to at least reduce the difficulty.
While not all barriers are something you can control, you can minimize the impact of a couple with the following methods.
Minimizing the Cost of Medication
The most important barrier that you need to get around is the expense of your COPD treatments. Without your treatments, you likely won’t feel well enough to be active and your condition will likely worsen much more quickly. But of course, it’s hard to get treated when American prescription prices are so high.
So, what can you do?
First, look for an international or Canadian pharmacy referral service, such as Canada Med Pharmacy. This type of service will allow you to ship your ADVAIR® HFA inhaler (fluticasone/salmeterol) and any other needed prescription medication from licensed pharmacies outside of the United States. Because these pharmacies are in other countries, they will typically have stricter prescription pricing regulations, making your treatments that much cheaper.
Secondly, make sure you buy generic ADVAIR® or other generic medications through the pharmacy referral service to lower your treatment expense even further.
But it is important to note that while the generic medication is cheaper than brand-name medication, it does not mean that its quality is lower. In fact, the FDA demands that companies create generic medication to be the same quality as that of the brand-name medication.
The only reason that medication like generic ADVAIR® is so much cheaper because it typically doesn’t require companies to repeat animal and human studies once the brand-name equivalent has been deemed safe. So take comfort in that, and get generic medication to ease your treatment expense!
Delaying the progression of COPD
Next, think about what you can do to delay the progression of your COPD. This condition will worsen over time, but you can at least slow it down for quite some time, giving you a better chance to stay healthy and fit for longer.
Some ways you can delay the progression of COPD include the following:
- Stop smoking if you do — Smoking will worsen your COPD at a faster rate, so avoid it at all costs.
- Eat healthily — Having a balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products can help slow the progress of COPD.
- Minimize any alcohol consumption — Drinking alcohol lowers an antioxidant found in your lungs that protects them from COPD flare-ups, and it can even decrease the ability of your lungs. So to keep your lungs as safe as possible, try to avoid alcoholic beverages.
Then, you can focus on getting up and moving around under the summer sun.
After you’ve made your life just a little easier, be prepared to get up and move!
Before you do, though, consider the activities you’d like to do. Make sure they are COPD-friendly!
For some examples of COPD-friendly activities, consider the following.
For exercise that’s relatively easy on your joints and lungs, simply walk around your neighborhood each day. Walking regularly can keep you active without stressing your body, and it’s something that can be done at your own pace. 20 minutes of fast walking too much? Then, try a consistent 10 minutes of slow walking! Gradually, you should develop enough endurance to handle longer and longer walks.
To keep your body flexible and more open than it otherwise would be, try doing yoga. Find a nearby yoga instructor, and under their professional supervision, try out some yoga exercises.
Lastly, consider cooling off from the summer sun with some swimming! It’s a great way to avoid overheating yourself as you exercise. And it comes with a few benefits for people with COPD. For instance, it can be a less intensive form of exercise if you’re just starting to get back into moving regularly. So it’s less of a strain on your joints while still giving your heart a healthy workout.
But be aware that swimming does come with some risks for those with COPD. Chlorine and other pool-maintenance chemicals can potentially cause COPD flare-ups, and it can be easy to overexert yourself while swimming.
So, take your time. Swim slowly on a regular basis at first to get your body used to the exercise and to see if any pool chemicals affect you. If you find swimming to be a stress-free splash, keep going!
Eventually, you may find this activity changing your life for the better.
Over time, however you choose to exercise, you’ll soon see some of those health benefits from your regular physical activity! It took you may be a bit longer than the average person, but you got there! Now, you can enjoy a longer, healthier life, good sleep, and an overall boost to your well-being.
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