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What Is the Best Way to Exercise with Bronchitis?

Bronchitis is inflammation of the bronchial tubes in the lungs.
Walking is a good way to exercise for those with bronchitis.
Yoga allows for deep breathing, opening the passages to the lungs, and may benefit those with bronchitis.
Chronic bronchitis can be caused by cigarette smoke.
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  • Last Modified Date: 21 October 2014
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Bronchitis is a medical illness in which inflammation occurs in the bronchial tubes of the lungs, creating mucus and causing the affected individual to cough. Generally, it is OK to exercise with bronchitis, depending on the type of exercise. Some exercises, such as running or biking, are usually discouraged, but walking, yoga, and deep breathing are often encouraged. These types of exercises may even help treat the illness and prevent it from recurring.

The general rule of thumb is that people suffering from a medical illness below the neck should rest. Consequently, many people feel they should not exercise if they have bronchitis. This is not always the case, particularly with chronic bronchitis that is caused by inhaled irritants, such as cigarette smoke. As with any exercise regimen, a person suffering from any form of bronchitis should consult a healthcare professional before exercising.

Walking is one of the best ways to exercise with bronchitis. It is believed to bring more good oxygen into the body and strengthen the lungs. Typically, a person should start walking slowly and for no more than ten or 15 minutes. Then, as she feels stronger, she may walk a little quicker and for a little longer period of time. Eventually, the affected person may be able to walk a rather quick pace for 30 minutes or more, depending on the severity of her bronchitis.

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Yoga is another good exercise for people with bronchitis. It is believed to relax the affected individual and open passages to her lungs, thereby reducing the symptoms. There are some poses in yoga that are thought to be more beneficial for people affected with bronchitis, although many poses may be done for purely for the sake of exercising. For example, shoulder lifts and half spine twists are both thought to relax the body and open the bronchioles of the lungs. Also, the relaxation pose is believed to be quite beneficial to those suffering from bronchitis, relaxing the person and making it easier for her to breathe.

Similar to yoga, some deep breathing exercises work to strengthen the lungs. For example, a breathing exercise called pursed lip breathing is thought to be very good for someone with bronchitis. The affected individual simply forms her lips as if she is about to give a kiss, then slowly inhales and slowly exhales. In addition, a person can conduct the alternate nostril breathing technique, covering one nostril at a time, while taking slow, deep breaths.

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Discuss this Article

anon277359
Post 5

I am 66 and was told I had COPD four years ago. It came on real quickly, so much so that I hacked it out for seven months before I had to go to the doctor. (I just could not breathe].

I have had the spiro test for the last the years, and the last one said "bronchitis, little better, capacity little worse." I bought a cross trainer and bike all in one four weeks ago, hoping to increase my capacity. I use it every day, and really feel the benefit. I use it four, maybe five times a day for maybe 60 seconds a go and find walking and being active is getting easier and easier.

cloudel
Post 4

I do a combination of meditation and deep breathing as part of my chronic bronchitis treatment. I get the benefits of relaxation and better air flow at once, and I don't even have to push myself beyond my limits.

I close my eyes, sit down on a comfortable mat, and focus on slow, steady breathing. I take in as much air as my lungs can hold, and I exhale as slowly as I inhale.

Feeling my lungs filling with air sets me free and makes me feel more mentally aware. After I get a rhythm of deep breathing going, I concentrate on serene places in my mind that make me happy.

wavy58
Post 3

My sister has chronic bronchitis. Though she finally was able to quit smoking after twenty years of the habit, she has a lingering productive cough that makes it hard for her to do intense workouts.

She has found that swimming is the best exercise for her. As long as she keeps her head above water and doesn't get any of it in her lungs, it is a very beneficial exercise.

She can do a wide range of movements in the water that can open up her airways. The water also provides enough gentle resistance to help her tone her muscles and burn some calories.

orangey03
Post 2

@OeKc05 – That is probably because you have acute bronchitis. I think it is more intense than chronic bronchitis, which people come to live with.

Bronchitis of any kind can be really hard to get rid of. Once I shook the initial infection that caused mine, I kept residual phlegm in my bronchial tubes for two years after the fact, so I had to start exercising.

I found that walking was the best exercise for me. It wasn't too strenuous, so it didn't set off a coughing spell. I could go at my own pace, and I could work up to a longer workout as my strength increased.

OeKc05
Post 1

It is usually impossible for me to do deep breathing exercises when I have bronchitis. For one thing, I generally have a congested nose along with the congested chest. Also, my persistent cough refuses to let any air through.

When I attempt to take a deep breath, I go into a coughing fit. I start to feel feverish from all the exertion, and I can only lie there in misery.

I don't see how anyone could exercise with bronchitis. I always have to go to the doctor for some super powerful cough medication and a shot to help me get over the illness, and until it subsides, I can barely even function in my regular activities.

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