Exercise Helps Lung Patients Emotionally
  By Vijai P. Sharma, Ph.D

 According to a research recently published in the Health Psychology Journal, exercise improves psychological well-being in patients with lung disease.  In serious chronic illnesses such as the heart or lung disease, a person's outlook on life often tends to change in a negative direction.  As a result of poor coping with their physical disorder, many develop significant anxiety, depression or other psychological disorders.  Here is a good news: regular exercise reduces anxiety and depression and improves physical endurance in people with serious lung disease.  

The above mentioned positive changes were observed just after ten weeks of "regular" exercise which was defined as three to five times a week.  Furthermore, the regular exercise group did better than the group which received patient education and stress management lessons.  Interestingly, the physical endurance of the members of the exercise group increased in the ten week period even though their lung capacity was still the same.  
These results are particularly significant because many lung patients become totally physically inactive fearing that they may damage their lungs.  Their physicians and families don't encourage them either.  We now know that physical inactivity doesn't help at all.  

Find out from your physician or from a medially trained health and fitness expert how much exercise is appropriate for your lung capacity.  Exercise every day and gradually build it up.  Don't exceed your comfort level.  Learn stress management techniques to cope with every day stress.  Seek help for anxiety or depression problem if you suspect you have any.  Get information from American Lung Association about your condition.  Talk to a respiratory therapist.  Form the habit of breathing from your tummy rather than your chest.  

These measures can effectively change the quality of your life.  How do I know it?  Because, I too have a chronic lung disease.      

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