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How I found exercise that works for me and my COPD: My Royal Parks Half Marathon

Mark, 28, lives with COPD. This month, he ran the Royal Parks Half Marathon for the first time. In this blog, he shares how he found exercise that works for him, why he decided to fundraise for the BLF and how you can too.

For as long as I can remember, I have lived with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). I was born premature and had numerous health problems as a child. This caused me to develop lung damage and permanent scarring. I briefly used an inhaler during my teenage years, but have been lucky to not need any medication or medical assistance since.

My COPD usually causes me to become wheezy and I get out of breath easily. I find weather conditions can make my symptoms worse; particularly during the winter, and when humidity is high. However, in my case, I find my lung condition is easier to manage by exercising regularly and eating healthily. This has made it easier for me to control my breathing during cardio exercise.

I never would have imagined I would be running half marathons

I decided to take part in the Royal Parks Half Marathon because I wanted to challenge myself – 10 years ago, I never would’ve thought I could run a half marathon! But I also wanted to raise money and join the fight against COPD. It was my first “proper” half-marathon, as previously I did a virtual one. I trained regularly in the gym, combining fitness classes (spin, body combat, yoga etc) with conditioning workouts and swimming. As my fitness improved, I found it easier to control my breathing.

I first discovered the British Lung Foundation through a friend of mine who had lost his father to COPD. They provide really important information and support for people living with lung conditions. And, as I have COPD myself, this inspired me to fundraise for them.

Running for the BLF in the Royal Parks Half Marathon was incredible. What I loved most was, without doubt, the atmosphere. So many people were cheering me on, and it really fired me up, and gave me the strength to sprint the last 400 metres. I couldn’t sleep that night, because the adrenaline was still pumping through my body!

I hope my story can help empower people with lung conditions

My exercise journey has been challenging and it has taken a lot of hard work to get to where I am. 

I am incredibly lucky I can run the way I do while living with COPD to fundraise for BLF. Everyone is different, and if I could give anyone living with COPD some advice, it would be don’t let it stop you from pushing yourself to do more. You don’t have to be a runner like me. Just taking a short walk every day and eating a healthy balanced diet could improve your health, stamina and mental wellbeing.

You can find more information about how you can keep active with a lung condition on the BLF website.

If you want to fundraise for BLF like me, there are so many ways to do it. Whether they include exercise or not, you’re still raising money for vital research and support for people with lung conditions. You can find out more information about how you can fundraise here.

Know someone that would like to run for Team Breathe at the Royal Parks Half Marathon 2022?

Applications for our charity places are open!

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20 October 2021