Keeping active with a lung condition

Why is being active important for me?

We’re often told that being active is good for us. But if you have a lung condition, you might wonder if it’s right for you. In fact, being active can actually help to improve both your breathing and your mental wellbeing. On this page we’ll explore the mental and physical benefits of being active for people with lung conditions.

You might be nervous about becoming active, especially if you haven’t been active for a while. But even a little physical activity is better than none at all. And you may feel more in control because you’re doing something positive for yourself.

“Before I was diagnosed I didn’t exercise as such, but once I realised the benefits that physical activity can have on my condition, my outlook completely changed. Through activity I have learnt to live with my condition.” Hazel

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What if I get breathless?

The fear of getting out of breath may put you off doing any activity that makes you more breathless. But in fact, making yourself breathless through exercise isn’t harmful. 

When it comes to improving your breathing, many people find that being active is more effective than inhaled drugs.

You need strong muscles and a strong heart to use oxygen efficiently. If you increase your fitness and strengthen your muscles, you’ll get less breathless doing everyday activities like going shopping, doing housework or climbing the stairs. You may even re-discover activities you thought you could no longer do.

Find out more about how being active will affect your breathing. There are lots of useful breathing techniques for you to try.


How can I benefit from being active?

Being active has both physical and mental benefits. It improves your fitness, makes you stronger and helps you manage health conditions and stay out of hospital.  Physical activity helps you take back control, be more independent and can help you live well for longer.

Physical benefits

Being active has lots of physical benefits:

  • improves the strength of your breathing muscles, heart and circulation. This helps you use oxygen more efficiently, so you don’t get so breathless
  • better muscle strength in every part of your body
  • improves bone strength
  • helps you resist infections
  • helps you maintain a healthy weight
  • improves flexibility and joint mobility
  • higher energy levels
  • better sleep
  • lower stress levels and blood pressure
  • lower risk of falling (by improving your balance)
  • reduces your risk of developing other health problems such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, osteoarthritis, dementia and some cancers

Mental and psychological benefits

We often think that exercise just benefits your body, but it also has many benefits for your mind:

  • raises your confidence and self-esteem
  • helps your brain work better, so you can learn and remember more
  • helps you cope better with the feeling of being out of breath
  • reduces anxiety and depression
  • creates new social opportunities, so you can get out of the house and meet people
  • makes you feel happier

“I feel better in my body and mind… Exercise has saved my life!” Roy

Next: How will being active affect my breathing? >

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