Top Ten Tips For Conserving Energy For COPD Patients

Elsewhere on this blog we’ve talked about the value of exercise in helping to increase endurance and strength.  And it’s true: exercise is a must for COPD patients and will go a long way toward improving the quality of their day-to-day life. However, conserving energy in day-to-day living is also important in helping to manage COPD symptoms and keep flare-ups at bay.  Here are the top ten tips for conserving energy during day-to-day tasks.

  1. Plan your activities for the day ahead of time and schedule them with time in between for rest and recovery.
  2. Be realistic – don’t cram one day with lots of activities that you know will overtire you by the end of the day.
  3. Don’t plan activities shortly after meals. Just like the rule you learned as a kid regarding swimming – rest for 20 to 30 minutes after each meal before launching into something active.
  4. If you can do it seated rather than standing, go for it: shaving, washing dishes, drying your hair, etc.
  5. Ask for help when you need it. Remember – those who care about you would rather do a little more to help you stay healthy than see you get overtired or have a flare-up.
  6. Make “rest” a part of every activity – either before or after.
  7. Choose clothing that opens in the front so that you don’t have to reach behind you and strain to fasten zippers, hooks and buttons.
  8. Listen to your body and, regardless of what you might have planned or hoped for, stop and rest if you feel you need to. This goes for daily activities as well as exercise and recreation. You’ll last longer, and probably do more in the long run, if you let yourself rest when you feel the need to.
  9. Take your sleep seriously. Make sure to get a good night’s sleep every night, and elevate your head while sleeping.
  10. Consider using some assistive devices such as a walker, shower chair, hand-held shower head, or long-handled tools for dressing that will save you the energy of bending, straining, reaching, and leaning to do everyday tasks.
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