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?
- How should I use the exercise handbook?
- How can I exercise safely?
- Where can I download the exercise handbook?
- How can I watch the programme and join in at home?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Our full exercise programme includes a warm up, aerobic exercises, strengthening exercises, exercises for balance and co-ordination and a cool down.
- 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
- Warming up and cooling down - always remember to warm up before you exercise and cool down when you’ve finished
- Main exercise – aerobic exercises - to work your heart and your lungs
- Main exercise - strengthening exercises - to improve your muscle strength
- Main exercise – exercises for balance and co-ordination – to improve your balance and co-ordination. There are other exercises for balance within the full exercise programme
Use this form to record your exercises each week. Use the spare rows at the bottom to add your own exercises or activities.
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.
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.
Keeping active with a lung condition
Keeping active can help you manage your symptoms and get more out of life.
Walking helped me get fitter, feel happier and breathe easier!
After retiring, Lesley struggled to stay active as her breathing capacity worsened. But thanks to encouragement from the BLF, she has found a great new walking club that is helping her to breathe easier.