What if I am on oxygen?
If you have low oxygen levels in the blood and are prescribed oxygen therapy, keep wearing your oxygen so you can tolerate the exercise more easily.
When exercising, be careful to avoid tripping on your oxygen tubing.
Never turn your oxygen up higher than prescribed for exercising unless you have discussed this with your Health Care team (doctor, nurse, physiotherapist or exercise physiologist) first.
Please note – oxygen isn’t prescribed for breathlessness alone.
What if I am unwell?
If you find it hard to do your usual exercise program, this can be an early warning sign that you are becoming ill.
When you are unwell, your body is working harder to fight off the infection and your breathing may become more difficult. Therefore, you should not be exercising as hard as you would normally or at all.
What should I do to prevent losing my fitness after I have been unwell or experienced a flare up?
The severity of a flare up will affect the exercise level you are able to do. You may be so unwell you need to rest, so start exercising again as soon as you are able to. Remember, you may need to restart at a lower level of exertion.
Generally, the aim is not to exercise as hard as usual. Instead, you could:
- Walk at a slower speed (that you can tolerate) and use more rest breaks.
- Ride an exercise bike rather than going for a walk. You are moving less body weight while riding an exercise bike; therefore, it may be easier to do.
- Do a strength training program for your arm and leg muscles, perhaps with lighter weights.
It is important for you to resume an exercise programme promptly following a flare up so as not to lose the fitness gains you have already achieved and to prevent re-admissions to hospital. In some cases, you may need to return to pulmonary rehabilitation.
When returning to your exercise program after being unwell, base what you do on your level of breathlessness or fatigue and increase as you feel able.