Exercise -

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Hi, I write here recently about extreme fatigue. I was encouraged to exercise more by everyone here and by my own pulmo. Well, I went on the treadmill for only 20 minutes. I was so worn out afterwards that I went to bed very early and still feel exhausted today. I am very discouraged and in shock that the reaction was that bad and had to stop after 20 minutes!

The last time I went a few weeks earlier I did 30 min and felt fine. Obviously, this is not good news. I was sob afterwards (not too bad) and felt lightheaded.

I am now afraid to do any exercise at all. I will be seeing my pulmo in a few weeks. Is it wise to try again?

1 like, 13 replies


13 Replies

  • Posted

    Hello Maryterese

    This would be discouraging for you without question. Here is some things to keep in mind.

    Remember that some days are better than others. We know this to be so. Even to do a bit more on some times than others, makes us feel encouraged and more successful. But on those days, when we are feeling less strength, more fatigue and just 'off', it is very easy to fall into feeling discouragement and worry.

    Now,also keep this other important point in mind. We find also, if someone is described as being 'deconditioned' it would describe a person who is not used to having much activity or much exercise.  And the less exercise the human body gets, the more 'deconditioned' or out of shape we are...we lose muscle much faster than we realize when we are not exercising.

    And when our bodies have more muscle, we use less oxygen and have an easier time to breathe, as well as more strength and more energy.

    Poor dear.

    Do not feel discouraged.  I think 20minutes on a treadmill is quite a long effort. Perhaps a bit too long if you are just getting into more activity. You are not used to it.

    What I would do, (and have done) is to start out more easily. Perhaps do five or ten minutes, simply walking slowly, on the flat with your treadmill. Start once a day for  week or two and then increase to do it twice a day, for five or ten minutes the next week.

    By taking less time and less effort is helpful.

    then by starting by one time a day

    then increase to twice a day, you will end up having the 20 minutes, but in a much more manageable manner with breaking it up into two sesssions....You gain the same benefits as doing 20 minutes all at once, but instead twice daily for shorter periods.

    You could also do some sitting exercise as well, perhaps while watching televsion...leg exercises, stretch band exercise etc. Again do so slowly to your tolerance to begin and for very short period.

    It is a slow process, but important to build tolerance and strength slowly, but steadily.

    You will do it !  And remember some days are better than others, do not be too hard on yourself!


    • Posted

      Lil, God bless you. You understand what I am experiencing., I am going to take you up on your suggestions. I went at a good clip on the treadmill, probably should cut that in half.

      I am going to start with every other day since I am still so tired from last night. Wil hand weights help?

      I am discouraged and sad that my COPD is much worse than I thought, even from a few weeks ago when I last exercised. Is the muscle strength totally lost or can you rebuild it, new?

      This puts me in mind that I am going to fail much more quickly than I ever thought, scary, yes. My FVC is moderate at 77, but my fev1/fvc is good., fev1 is 86. So numbers don't indicate severity at least to me. I am still hoping that working up slowly on exercise will increase my strength and improve fatigue.

      Thank you!

    • Posted

      Glad to hear back Maryterese!

      Hand weights will help. Much can be gained by using a can of soup or peas while sitting! Start slowly, it is the number of repetititions not the amount of weight that makes a difference here...do five or ten and leave it again for the afternoon or evening again.

      You absolutely CAN rebuild muscles, oh most certainly. People are always very surprised at how litle time it takes to lose them, but with regular activities you will gain them back. Protein is very helpful in helping muscles grow too...if you are able, look at something like eggs, or lean meats like chicken or turkey etc, or some plant based proteins that you can find in shakes. Some shakes you can get at the stores or there are many recipes to make with your blender at home! If you have access to a dietician, put her to work for you and she can give you some recipes.

      Remember now, Maryterese, the thoughts are not to focus on 'failing'...no, no,no. smile

      Thoughts are to focus on gaining some strength and tolerance which you can do.

      In my opinion, don't even spend time on those numbers...spend time on what is going to help.

      And your suggestion of beginning at every second day is just fine! Work in gradually.

      And another super benefit is how much brighter your mind and feelings will be!  Exercise produces endorphins, chemicals found in our brains. It is those chemicals which give us improved feelings of well being....just what we ALL can use!

      Please keep in touch Maryterese.

      Please do.

      Lill  xoxoxo

  • Posted

    start with 2 mins, when ok with 2min, increase to 3, then 5, 6, 7, do it slowly and gradually.

    When you can do 3 mins comfortable, do 10 paces at your normal pace, pick up the pace for 3 paces, back to normal pace for 10 paces, then increase  4 paces more brisk etc.  After a week try 10 paces normal 7 brisk etc etc.  Your can do this inside even without a treadmill, the treadmill allows you to train and chosen speed, so if that's what you are using increase the speed for the 5 paces and alternate that way.

    20 mins to start on the treadmill when already out of condition is not a good way to build your fitness or stamina.  It actually surprised me you could manage 20 mins initially any way.  But of course you would have to walk if you want to go shopping ever again, visit the doc etc.

    From small beginnings and persistence you will eventually be able to do 20 mins comfortably, so what if its tiring, you can rest afterward, but you need to keep this going day after day and why not try an am session and a pm session with rests in between.  

    Good luck but if you really want to improve its all in your own hands (or feet) wink

    • Posted

      Thank you, Vee. I am going to start out slowly. I have no trouble walking at all. I will look online too.
  • Posted

    Check you tube for copd chair based exercise or just search you tube for copd exercise, pulmonary rehabilitation exercise etc etc, there's loads of videos available.


  • Posted

    Hi Maryterese,

    Movement is life.  As long as you have no heart problems, Yes try it again, but when you are in a weakened state, try just five or ten minutes at a time.  Every little bit counts and for me, even though I know that my severe lung condition will not get any better, I believe that pushing myself, as I can, makes me feel better in the end,  Even my moods.  But I understand that it is very difficult.  There will be ups and downs.  Please consider trying not to compare to how you did at another time.  COPD changes all the time.  So, it is well for you to celebrate that 20 minutes and try not to despair.  


    Dawn, USA

  • Posted

    Hi Maryterese!!

    I think I would not be able to do treadmill.....that is pretty strenuous.  My husband and I walk 2 to 3 miles around our local indoor shopping mall (if he is elsewhere, I have a friend walk with me OR I walk alone.  Just going at a steady pace and not pushing myself.  I feel a LOT better overall by simply walking and I notice a difference in how I feel if for some reason I skip a day or two.  Don't beat yourself up about the treadmill.  Just try walking.

  • Posted

    Hi yes exercise is very good.  I think you have pushed yourself too hard and this is why you are so tired..  You need to push yourself to the point of being too breathless to sing but not to talk.  Any less than that and you are not getting the full benefit.  Any more and you won't benefit any more but will be discouraged.  x
    • Posted

      Hypercat, Thank you, I have been afraid to push myself to the limit you described.

      I slowed my pace down and am now at 15 min. I am hoping to increase that very slowly. I understand what you mean about getting the full benefit, that is good advice. I prefer the treadmill at the gym - even though it is hard for me to go, I can easily see the stats, and it helps to be around people.

    • Posted

      Hi I have been to PR and learned the exercises to do.   This question of breathlessness while exercising came up a few times.  Unless you have a heart problem or other issues which might affect your heart,  then getting breathless won't harm you.  It is actually good for you.  They talked about the Borg levels - google them.   You need to keep at your borg level 4 which is being able to talk but not sing.   If you are getting too breathless then you have gone past this level and need to stop.   When you have got your breath back continue if you can.  If you can't then simply stop.

      You will find that you can gradually increase your time and this exercise is doing you good.   The more oxygen in your extremities the less oxygen you will need to breathe.   This takes some of the pressure off your lungs.

      I actually don't do any exercises but I do take my sisters dog out walking every day so I reckon I get enough then. 

      I am still at the level I was diagnosed with (actually gone up a bit) 5 years or so ago now,  despite still being a stupid smoker.   I won't get away with it forever so am making plans to have another attempt to stop. 

      Apart from that I do get quite sob (current FEV1 mid 70's) and I am 62 now so I have slowed down quite a bit.  But some of that is old age I guess.  I still do most things I want but a bit slower that's all and more spaced out.   I avoid 2 strenuous things a day so I can keep going.   I work as a volunteer in a charity shop as well so am usually on the go at something. 

      Good luck with your exercises - remember don't push yourself past your borg level 4.   Bev x


    • Posted

      Thanks so much, I looked up the Borg levels. It is very helpful information. I will use it next time.

      You seem pretty active, that is great.

      I am glad your levels have not changed.

      Do you ever do hand weight exercises? I am trying those out. If anyone has any thoughts on that, please let me know! I am hoping that it will help my muscle strength. I would think that would benefit many of us.


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