Most of us know someone who suffers from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). COPD is a group of chronic inflammatory diseases that obstruct airflow from entering the lungs. It is commonly caused by smoking or over-exposure to irritants in the air. There is good news, though. A study in Respirology shows taking a brisk walk once a day leads to fewer COPD attacks and hospitalizations.

The study followed 543 COPD patients from five respiratory clinics. It was found that participants who sustained a medium to high level of physical activity could lower the risk of hospitalizations. Low-intensity exercise, such as walking, also proved to be quite beneficial. However, the patients who overall had the best chance of staying out of the hospital were those who walked approximately two miles, at least three days a week. In addition, the research showed adults with low levels of physical activity or who slacked off from their exercise routine increased their chances of having an attack and needing to be hospitalized.

While walking was the focus of this study, other exercises such as biking or swimming can be beneficial as well. Make sure to always consult with a doctor or physical therapist to discuss any new activity plans. Get some exercise and breathe happy!

We’re here to help with therapy through Integrity Rehab or Integrity Home Health, as well as skilled nursing services through Integrity Home Health. Ask your healthcare provider for a referral or click here to self-refer directly to a Doctor of Physical Therapy at Integrity Rehab.


Esteban C, Arostegu I, Aburto M, et al. Influence of changes in physical activity on frequency of hospitalization in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Respirology, 2014 Apr; 19 (3): 330-338.

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