Decreased activity may lead to decreased deep breathing, and lung weakness.
This is typical after being in the hospital, especially from an illness that effects our lungs- like pneumonia or Covid 19. When you are home recovering, but still not feeling back to normal, here are some things you can adjust to improve your endurance, and find yourself with “better breathing”.
Tips to follow for better breathing:
YOUR ENVIRONMENT: make sure the air filter has been changed, limit dust in the home (have someone check the ceiling fans), limit perfumes and strong odors, place an air purifier in your room, and of course, no smoking!
YOUR ACTIVITY: do any exercises you were given from your nurse, physical therapist, occupational therapist, or speech therapist, faithfully. If you didn’t get any instructions regarding exercise, make sure to follow up with your physician. Certain exercises could be very helpful to your recovery.
YOUR LUNGS: There are many detailed ways your therapist may give you to exercise your lungs. Whatever recommendations they give, you should follow regularly. Every one’s recuperation is different, and the caregivers working with you know you best.
Click this link for a pulse oximeter that I recommend to measure oxygen saturation at home. (affiliate link)
A general breathing exercise:
A general breathing activity that a typical person can benefit from during recovery is what I have come to call the “3-5 breathing party”:
Sitting tall in good posture, with shoulders relaxed, breath in through your nose slowly (mouth closed, about 3 seconds) and then breathe out through pursed/puckered lips, slowly, about 5 seconds, 3 times, 5 times a day.
“Smell the flowers, and gently blow out the candles“. This allows you to breath more efficiently and may increase your lung capacity.
The American Lung Association has a helpful post with videos here.
See this detailed post regarding energy conservation tips and handouts!
Seniors: A good rule of thumb for all activity and exercise, is to advance slowly, and consult your physician/clinician if you have new symptoms or increased shortness of breath!
Clinicians: Here is a sneak peek at a customizable handout for you to use with clients:
I would love to hear your feedback! What additional instructions do you give your patients for ‘better breathing’ at home?
What exercises have been helpful for you in your recovery?
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