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. The fear of getting out of breath may put you off doing any activity that makes you more breathless.

In fact, being active can actually help to improve your breathing and quality of life. Many people find it helps more than inhaled drugs. If you increase your fitness and strengthen your muscles, you’ll get less out of breath 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. 

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

How can I benefit from being active?

Being active 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.

Being active improves

  • the strength of your breathing muscles, heart and circulation
  • the strength of your arm and leg muscles
  • the strength of your bones
  • your ability to resist infections
  • your flexibility and joint mobility
  • your energy levels
  • your wellbeing and confidence 

and reduces:

  • anxiety or depression
  • stress levels and blood pressure
  • risk of falling (by improving your balance)
  • the risk of developing other health problems such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, osteoarthritis, dementia and some cancers

“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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Last medically reviewed: August 2017. Due for review: August 2020

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.