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Pulmonary Rehab Exercise Equipment For Your Home

Bringing Pulmonary Rehab Exercises To Your Home

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Updated December 27, 2011

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

For those of you unable to participate in a traditional pulmonary rehabilitation program, there are some pulmonary rehab exercises that you can do at home, provided you have the right pulmonary rehab exercise equipment and the approval of your health care provider. Let's take a look:

1. Treadmill

Treadmill
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Because many people with COPD become sedentary due to their symptoms, one of the primary goals of a pulmonary rehabilitation program is to get you up off the couch and moving again. One of the best ways to get moving is to walk, either on a treadmill or, if the weather permits, on an outdoor trail. A regular walking program not only helps you look and feel better, but it helps your body utilize oxygen more efficiently, builds your endurance, strengthens your muscles, and improves your sleep.

The Benefits of Walking for COPD Patients

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2. Recumbent Bicycle

Recumbent Bicycle
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Another great way to get moving is to ride a stationary bicycle. Many people with COPD prefer a recumbent exercise bicycle because they are more comfortable and easier to get on and off of. Riding a stationary bicycle helps strengthen your leg muscles, improves your physical conditioning and builds your endurance.

Selecting and Effectively Using a Stationary Bicycle

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3. Airdyne Bicycle

Airdyne Stationary Bicycle
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An alternative to the recumbent bicycle, an airdyne bicycle has a fan where the front wheel would normally be, therefore using air to provide resistance. Two added pluses -- the fan produces a wave of cool air during your workout to help prevent you from overheating, and it has handlebars that move in conjunction with the foot pedals, allowing you to get an upper body workout in at the same time as your lower body workout.

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4. Upper Body Ergometer

Upper Body Ergometer
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If you have COPD, it's not only important that you condition and strengthen your lower body, but your upper body, as well. An upper arm ergometer is an excellent way to condition the muscles of your upper body and get a cardio workout at the same time. It's also convenient to use, as many models actually sit on your tabletop. Most have an LED that displays your speed, distance traveled, calories burned and elapsed time. An upper body ergometer allows you to exercise your arms separately, rather than using a product like the airdyne bicycle that exercises your arms and legs at the same time, which may be difficult for some people. It's a great choice if you have an injury to your lower body, or are wheelchair bound.

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5. Lightweight Dumbbells

Aqua-Dumbbells for the Pool
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Most pulmonary rehab programs include some type of weight training with dumbbells. For pulmonary rehab exercises at home, lightweight dumbbells can be used to do arm, shoulder, and even back exercises. If you like swimming, you can even purchase dumbbells for use in the pool (pictured).

Dumbbell Strength Training for Seniors

How to Safely Use Free Weights

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6. Exercise Bands

Exercise Bands
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Last but not least, no home pulmonary rehab exercise program would be complete without resistance training. One of the best -- and least expensive -- ways to accomplish this is by using exercise bands. Exercise bands come in different levels of tension, or resistance. The best way to approach them is to start with a lighter tension, and work your way up.

Choosing and Using Resistance Bands

Strength Training With Resistance Bands

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