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Walking and COPD: How This One Exercise Can Help Your Loved One

If your loved one has been diagnosed with COPD, you probably also know that exercise can help. Depending on your loved one's current health, walking can be an excellent choice.

Why Try Walking?

Walking is an incredibly easy form of exercise to start out with. Your senior parent already walks, even if she's only doing so to get from one spot to another in her home. She doesn't need special equipment or clothing and she can get started with it at any time.

Get Her Doctor's Approval, First

One caveat, though, is that your elderly loved one should clear her new walking program by her doctor before she even begins. This allows her doctor to weigh in on how much walking she should be doing and what she should watch for in order to make sure she doesn't overdo it.

Start out Slowly Rather than Rushing In

While you and your senior might be tempted to start out with a mile-long hike, that's not the best idea. The point here is to build up strength and stamina and the best way to do that is for your parent to start out gradually. Try walking for two to three minutes at a time at first. If your senior parent isn't used to exercising, that will definitely be quite the workout. Eventually, she can add time.

Walk Outside or Inside

Walking outside is wonderful, but it can have its hazards, too. If your loved one lives in an area where humidity is high, for example, walking outside can make her feel short of breath much sooner than she should based on activity. In that scenario, walking inside might be far preferable, whether that's on a treadmill or simply walking in place.

If Your Loved One Needs Oxygen, Encourage Her to Use It

Some seniors with COPD may need temporary oxygen. If that's the case for your parent encourage her to use it. She may not want to use it for many reasons, but having that extra oxygen available while she's exercising can help her to do so safely.

If you're not able to be there with your senior parent for every workout, consider hiring home care providers to offer companionship and assistance with the tasks of daily living, which can include regular exercise like walking.