Ask a PT: COPD and Exercise

At Physio Ed, we are committed to providing you with trusted and reliable content on health and wellness topics. Our content creation and editing process is rigorous and transparent, and here is how it works:

  • Content Board: Our content board consists of leaders from various universities who advise on the selection of topics and ensure that they are relevant, accurate, and evidence-based.
  • Content Writers: Our content writers are practicing and licensed medical professionals or topical experts who have the knowledge and experience to write informative and engaging content on their respective fields.
  • Content Editors: Our content editors are also practicing and licensed clinicians who review the content for accuracy, completeness, and consistency. They also add supporting images and illustrations to enhance the visual appeal and understanding of the content.
  • Content Quality: Our content quality team checks the entire article for clarity, readability, and typos. They also ensure that the content follows the latest guidelines and standards in the medical field.

We value your feedback and questions, and we are always happy to hear from you. You can reach us at Thank you for choosing Physio Ed. as your trusted source of health and wellness information.

Table of Contents

“I was recently diagnosed with COPD. Am I still able to do cardio exercises, or will this just make it worse?” -Linda B.

Hi Linda,
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an inflammatory lung disease that affects the effort and quality of airflow from the lungs. Performing cardiovascular activity will not make COPD worse, but your diagnosis will limit your tolerance to cardiovascular activities.

It is excellent for you to perform cardiovascular exercises and resistance activities that will increase your heart rate as this will improve your overall health and reduce atrophy of your extremity and respiratory muscles which is important to maintain your overall function. However, with COPD you will need to be continuously aware of your body’s response to the physical stress you place on it. So when performing activities such as walking you will need to moderate your level of intensity to make sure you don’t over do it and cause increased breathing difficulties.

You should be instructed in ‘pursed lip’ or ‘forced exhale’ breathing during your regular daily and cardiovascular activities as this will improve your ability to exhale. Often, exercising in humid climates makes symptoms worse because of poor pressures and air flow out of the lungs – so be aware of your symptoms as some people feel worse in the humid climates while others prefer the humidity depending on your diagnosis. Keep your exercise fun and let us know if you have any other questions, comments, or concerns!

Table of Contents

We Value Your Privacy

We use cookies to make your website experience smoother, and find all the good things you’re looking for on Physio Ed. By clicking “Accept and Continue”, you agree with our use of cookies.