Tips for Starting a New Exercise Routine when You Have Respiratory Health Issues

  • Jan - 01 - 2023
  • Elixair Medical

Senior woman giving thumbs up with seniors exercising in backgroundAt this time of year, many people embark on new health journeys, pursuing health-related goals with a renewed vigor. Health-related goals are one of the most common New Year’s resolutions, but how do you pursue your own health goals if you have a respiratory health condition? Can you even begin a new exercise routine if you have a respiratory condition? While it is much more difficult to engage in physical activity with respiratory health issues, it’s not impossible. Keep reading to learn a few tips that can help you on your journey.

Always Consult with a Doctor

First and foremost, if you have respiratory health issues, you should never try to begin a new exercise routine without consulting a physician. Your doctor can provide you with personalized guidance on how to best begin a new exercise routine. They can also provide you with recommended exercises, tools that may help, and information regarding the warning signs that may indicate you need to stop your exercise. While the rest of this article will provide basic recommendations and guidance for beginning a new exercise routine, you should always defer to your doctor’s advice.

Gradually Increase Activity Levels

If you’re trying to be more active, regardless of what your current activity levels are, you should always start to increase your activity gradually. For example, if you do not currently exercise at all, you can begin by walking to the end of your street and back again. What you shouldn’t do is immediately try to go run several miles at once. If you are already walking habitually, you can gradually increase the length of those walks and/or the speed at which you walk.

Of course, walking is not the only type of activity you can engage in (we’ll discuss some more exercises you can try in a moment). If you do engage in water aerobics, yoga, weight lifting, or any other form of physical fitness, the same principle applies. You can gradually make the exercises more difficult, increase the weight you’re using, lengthen the amount of time you exercise, and so on.

Monitor Your Heartrate

Heartrate monitors are a very common tool for individuals when working out. It helps you better track your caloric output and your perceived exertion levels. But if you have a respiratory health condition, that heartrate monitor can also provide you with important information that can help you to stay safe while exercising. If your heartrate reaches dangerous levels, you’ll know that you need to stop and rest, lower your heartrate, and catch your breath.

Consider an Oximeter

In addition to monitoring your heartrate, you should also consider monitoring your oxygen levels with an oximeter. These tools provide you with details regarding your current oxygen saturation levels; sometimes, being out of breath is not necessarily an accurate measure of how oxygenated your body is. There are instances where you might not feel short of breath at all, but your oxygen levels may be low nonetheless. This is not common in healthy individuals, but does occur if you have preexisting respiratory health conditions. Ask your doctor if they believe an oximeter may be beneficial to you as you begin your new exercise regimen.

Try to Start with Low-Impact Exercises

While low-impact exercises primarily help those with muscle weakness and joint pain to engage in physical activity, it can also help you get started if you have respiratory limitations. Lower-impact exercises typically will not elevate your heartrate as rapidly as higher-impact activities. Some recommendations for low-impact exercises that you can start with include:

  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Chair aerobics
  • Aqua aerobics
  • Weight lifting
  • Walking
  • Cycling

Some of these activities can elevate your heartrate if you push yourself too hard, so monitor your heartrate and exertion level as described above.

Keep Supplemental Oxygen Nearby

If you use supplemental oxygen, keep your supply nearby as you begin your exercises. If you feel yourself becoming out of the breath, stop, take a break, and consider using your oxygen for a short amount of time. This is especially important if you start to feel lightheaded or dizzy.

If you need supplemental oxygen, or if you’re looking for a more portal oxygen solution that you can take on walks or to the gym with you, contact Elixair Medical today. We can provide you with the tools you need to succeed in your health journey.