Keep Active, Keep Well
Heather shares how we’re working to help people with lung conditions stick to their healthy habits.
When you have a lung condition the thought of exercising can be scary. But exercise is vital to help manage your symptoms and slow down the progression of your condition.
Exercise can not only radically reduce the breathlessness associated with many lung conditions, it can also keep you out of hospital, improve your strength, boost your confidence, reduce depression and enhance your quality of life.
Just like any other treatment, exercise needs to be taken in the right dose. In order to get all the wonderful benefits that exercise can bring you, you need to be active as much as possible.
Easier said than done! It’s not easy to get active and it’s even harder to stick at it over time. So we’re developing a new programme to help people get into healthy habits and keep them for life.
Happier, healthier lives
We’re receiving £500,000 of National Lottery funding from Sport England, to run a programme to provide new sporting opportunities, lifestyle advice and motivational support for people living with a lung condition. People who take part on the programme will be helped to manage their condition and live happier, healthier lives.
It's already been backed by our celebrity supporters, health entrepreneur and Dragon’s Den star Duncan Bannatyne and actor and designer Sadie Frost.
Sadie, who has lived with bronchiectasis since she was a child, said “Doing the right exercise, such as yoga, has given me the energy I need to maintain my busy schedule. It has allowed me to take control of my condition, rather than the other way round.”
Duncan shared his experiences: "Having managed care facilities and health clubs, I know that you can’t overestimate the difference just a little of the right exercise can make to someone’s health and quality of life. That applies to those affected by lung disease as much as it does everyone else.
“This programme is even more innovative and forward-thinking, in that it doesn't just concentrate on the exercise but on the wider life changes that can help improve your health and quality of life”.
A whole new world
We've spoken to people affected by lung conditions about the difference keeping active has made to their lives. Linda had a similar experience to that of Sadie Frost.
She was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) 14 years ago and found it difficult to carry on with her day-to-day life. “When I was first diagnosed with COPD I thought I couldn’t do anything because I was always out of breath. Doing simple things like getting up in the morning or bending to open a drawer made me breathless. I felt isolated and knew no one else who was living with my condition.
“Taking up exercise classes opened up a whole new world to me and since then, I feel happier and healthier, and I have never looked back.”
A second chance at life
And Peter, who recently lost a lung to cancer, found exercising at a local BLF Active class made a real difference to his wellbeing. “It’s the easiest thing in the world to sit on a chair and give up. I’ve lost a lung through cancer but I’m not doing that! We all need to try a little bit or a big bit, whatever you can do as long as you’re doing something.
“If you have a lung condition you can’t sit around and wait for other people to look after you, you need to take care of yourself. I fully believe you get out of it what you put in. Exercise has given me a second chance at life.”
The Keep Active, Keep Well programme will be developed in 2015. If you have a lung condition and want to join an exercise class, find out more about our BLF Active programme.
Photo credit: David Loftus/ Nourish - Mind, Body and Soul