COPD and Exercise

COPD and Exercise


COPD is a progressive lung disease that causes persistent airway obstruction. This can happen because of emphysema, or chronic bronchitis. A COPD sufferer will have a lot of difficulty in breathing and may have a chronic cough or wheezing. Other signs and symptoms include reduced lung elastic recoil and limitation in air flow; breathing will become much harder to do; the breathing muscles will become weak because of hyperinflation, which overly stresses these muscles; and other ventilation-related signs. People with COPD will have difficulty in emptying their lungs and impaired gas exchange in emphysema because of destruction of the alveolar-capillary membrane.

However, exercise can improve the use of oxygen, exercise (work) capacity, and can lower the anxiety level of COPD patients. Some of the direct benefits of exercise in this case include:

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The Role of Aerobic Exercise in the Management of Obstructive Sleep Apnea


Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a common condition involving an obstructed airway and impaired breathing. Frequent side effects include snoring, pauses in breathing during the night, and sleepiness during the day. There is also a significant increase in hypertension, atrial fibrillation, stroke, and coronary artery disease. The consequences can be huge, and life-threatening.

Many patients with OSA are treated with a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine (CPAP), with good results. But exercise has an important role to play in the management of this condition.

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Lower Back Pain

 Lower Back Pain


Lower back pain, or LBP, is an extremely common problem. It has a  wide variety of causes, and may come on suddenly, or gradually. The pain can stem from muscles, joints, or discs. It may be as a result of sudden trauma, or be a repetitive motion injury.

 It may seem trivial to say that someone has LBP, but this common complaint can cause loss of work, a spike in use of health care services, depression, family strain, and lack of self-esteem. Imagine being in pain all the time - it's very draining.

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Rotator Cuff Injuries


There are four muscles in the shoulder complex, which together make up the “rotator cuff”. They act together as dynamic stabilizers and movers in the shoulder. The four muscles involved are the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and supscapularis.

The supraspinatus, located on top of the shoulder, and the infraspinatus, which lies on top of the shoulder blade, are the two most likely to be injured. The main function of the supraspinatus is to lift the arm out to the side of the body, or abduct it. The infraspinatus externally rotates the arm, as if turning your palm facing forward.

Athletes often experience sudden rotator cuff injuries following a powerful effort. We frequently hear of baseball pitchers, golfers and tennis players who are in rehab for a rotator cuff injury. Any type of sport or activity that involves abduction and external rotation, combined with speed and force, increases the possible of such an injury. This is considered an acute tear. This type of injury can also happen from falling onto the shoulder or lifting a heavy weight. The person will feel sudden tearing in the shoulder, severe pain and tenderness, and limited movement in the joint.


we can develop a rotator cuff injury over time – this is a chronic tear. The same athlete may develop a chronic tear over time, with overuse of the shoulder. Long-term repetitive movement can cause a chronic tear at or around the tendon for anyone. Over time, range of motion becomes affected. The pain may become worse, especially at night. Eventually the person may experience weakness in the joint, and be unable to lift the arm out to the side. People whose jobs involve repetitive motion are also prone to chronic tears.

If you have been diagnosed with a rotator cuff injury by a doctor, you may require surgery. If the doctor feels that isn’t needed, you will likely be referred for physiotherapy. A physiotherapist may use a variety of techniques in the rehab stages, including mobilization, deep friction massage, and use of ice and ultrasound.

In the post-rehab stage, people often get impatient and jump right back into the activities that caused the problem in the first place, or start using too much weight or inappropriate exercises in their workout routine. A personal trainer versed in post-rehab training can provide education on how to avoid re-injury, and also exercises to strengthen the affected muscles. There is a safe path to take in post-rehab, and it takes time to go through the process. Exercises may include isometric contraction, range of motion work, light bands, tubing, and eventually light weights. Correct stretching techniques are also important to avoid further injury.

Deb Bailey Personal Trainer - in Home (Now On-line!)
Phone: 519-572-0986
Kitchener, Ontario

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