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Keeping active with a lung condition

Your exercise handbook

We’ve put together an exercise handbook to support you to get more active. It shows you different exercises, has space to record your progress and gives tips on exercising safely with a lung condition.

On this page:

What’s in the exercise handbook?

Our exercise handbook gives you everything you need to become more active. It’s got information on what activities you should do and when, how to exercise safely and keeping active during a flare-up. We have a full exercise programme for you to follow along, as well as space to record your progress and reach your goals.

Download exercise handbook

How should I use the exercise handbook?

First, make sure you carefully read through the section 'Before you start to exercise'. This has important information on how much exercise you should do and for how long. There’s also information on exercising safely and about reaching your exercise goals.

Then, choose what works best for you and what you find easiest. You should then try other exercises too and aim to do a bit more each week. Choose what you enjoy doing. Always remember to warm up before you exercise, and to cool down and stretch afterwards. 

If you’ve already been to pulmonary rehabilitation (PR), or can’t get out to an exercise class, using this handbook can be a good way to exercise at home. We hope you’ll see an improvement from week to week.

You can also watch the exercise programme online and find out more about the benefits of activity and exercise.

Download exercise handbook

How can I exercise safely?

Before you start any exercise, including using our handbook, talk to your health care professional to make sure it’s safe.

We go into more detail in the handbook about how to exercise safely, but here’s a few top tips:

  • start slowly and gradually build up
  • warm up before and cool down after exercising 
  • carry your reliever inhaler and/or glyceryl trinitrate (GTN) spray if you have them - use them when you need to
  • wear loose, comfortable clothing and supportive non-slip shoes, like trainers
  • drink plenty of water and wait for at least an hour after eating before you exercise
  • use oxygen at your regular setting when exercising (if you normally use oxygen, even for just some of the time or overnight)
  • be active at a level that’s right for you
  • talk to your health care professional if exercise makes your chest feel tight or wheezy - you may find it beneficial to take a reliever inhaler 5-20 minutes before your exercise session, but you should discuss this with your health care professional first.

Where can I download the exercise handbook?

You can download the full exercise handbook, full exercise programme or in sections. You can also download more copies of the exercise record and walking record forms.

Full exercise handbook

Our full exercise handbook is available as an A4 double page layout. It contains our full exercise programme, as well as information on managing breathlessness, exercising safely, staying active during a flare-up and setting goals.

Download the full BLF exercise handbook PDF, 2.83MB

Full exercise programme

Our full exercise programme includes a warm up, aerobic exercises, strengthening exercises, exercises for balance and co-ordination and a cool down.

Download full exercise programme PDF, 551KB

  • Before you start to exercise - this covers how much exercise you should do, how long and hard to exercise and how exercise will affect your breathing. It includes breathing techniques and positions to help you feel in control of your breathing and also explains how you can stay safe while you exercise. There’s also information about reaching your exercise goals

Download before you start to exercise PDF, 225KB

  • Warming up and cooling down - always remember to warm up before you exercise and cool down when you’ve finished

Download warm up and cool down PDF, 290KB

  • Main exerciseaerobic exercises - to work your heart and your lungs

Download aerobic exercises PDF, 77KB

  • Main exercise - strengthening exercises - to improve your muscle strength

Download strengthening exercises PDF, 234KB

  • Main exerciseexercises for balance and co-ordination – to improve your balance and co-ordination. There are other exercises for balance within the full exercise programme

Download exercises for balance and co-ordination PDF, 66KB

Exercise record

Use this form to record your exercises each week. Use the spare rows at the bottom to add your own exercises or activities.

Download exercise record form PDF, 534KB

Walking record

Use this form to record the number of minutes you spend walking each day, or the number of steps you do. If you walk twice in one day, for example for 10 minutes and then for five minutes, record it as 10+5. You can track your amount of daily steps using a smartphone or pedometer.

Download walking record form PDF, 51KB

How can I watch the programme and join in at home ?

Our Stay Active Stay Well videos follow a similar structure to the programme in the exercise handbook – there’s a video for warming up and cooling down, as well as step-by-step aerobic and strengthening exercises. There are also useful videos on exercising safely and the benefits of exercising, as well as managing breathlessness.

Watch exercise programme at home

We use your comments to improve our information. We cannot reply to comments left on this form. If you have health concerns or need clinical advice, call our helpline on 03000 030 555 between 9am and 5pm on a weekday or email them.