5 Breathing Exercises For COPD And Lung Problems

Those who live with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung problems often have a hard time breathing, almost every single day. Most of you will describe this as a shortness of breath or air hunger. When you have a hard time breathing, you tend to avoid certain activities that will worsen the situation. The problem with this is that the more you avoid these activities, the weaker your muscles become, which will only make your breathing problems worse.

I perfectly understand how depressing this can be and why an increasing number of people look for breathing exercises. These exercises are a savior of those with COPD as they can help them feel relaxed and manage their symptoms better.


Such breathing exercises are many, and discussing them with your doctor is essential. So before trying any of the following exercises, ensure that you are doing the right thing and will not worsen your condition.

1. Diaphragmatic Breathing Exercise

Ways to perform the diaphragmatic breathing exercise in the right way for maximum benefit


The diaphragm is one of the most significant parts of the body since it is used to help a person to breath regularly. Individuals with COPD and other lung problems use certain accessory muscles in their back, shoulders, and neck to help them breathe.

How To Exercise

  1. Lie on your back on the floor, while your knees are bent or are resting on the pillow.
  2. Place your left hand on your belly and the right hand on your upper chest.
  3. Slowly inhale through your nose.
  4. While inhaling, focus on the hand that is placed on your belly; let the other hand be still on your chest.
  5. Slowly exhale through your the mouth.
  6. While exhaling, focus on the hand on your belly.
  7. Repeat as necessary.

2. Deep Breathing Exercise

This exercise helps in increasing the lung's air capacity and also relieves the pain in the airway


Typically, whenever the air in your lungs gets trapped, you may start to feel an increasing shortness of breath. By doing the deep breathing exercise, you can avoid this. The good thing about this deep breathing exercise is that it will help you breathe fresh air.

How To Exercise

  1. Place your elbows on your back slightly and be in a standing or sitting position.
  2. Take a deep breath.
  3. Hold your breath for 5 seconds.
  4. Slowly exhale, until you start feeling that you already have released a lot of air.
  5. Repeat 3–4 times every single day.

3. Coordinated Breathing Exercise

The exercise helps in the mind-muscle connection pertaining to the lung muscles and also at the times of stress and axiety


The shortness of breath can cause anxiety, which will make you want to hold your breath. With the coordinated breathing exercise, you can learn not to hold your breath. It can also help you when you suddenly feel anxious.

How To Exercise

  1. Start inhaling through your nose.
  2. Purse your lips.
  3. Through your pursed lips, start exhaling, no matter how challenging it feels.
  4. Repeat as required.

4. Pursed-Lips Breathing Exercise

This exercise can be particularly helpful in maintaining the breathing at the times of stress and also for shortness of breathe


The pursed-lips breathing exercise can help you with the shortness of breath in COPD. It also promotes relaxation while controlling your breathing and release the trapped air in the lungs. During activities that are strenuous, a pursed-lips breathing exercise can certainly be useful.

How To Exercise

  1. Start by relaxing your neck and your shoulders.
  2. Slowly breath in through your nostrils while counting to two and make sure that your mouth is closed.
  3. Start puckering your lips as if you are giving a kiss.
  4. Breathe out through the mouth slowly and steadily as you count from 1 to 4.

5. Huff Cough Technique

This exercise helps the individuals with the shortness of breathe especially relating to the formation of mucus with the condition of COPD


One of the most common problems of people who are suffering from COPD is the buildup of mucus. And coughing is a normal response when it comes to clearing a person’s airways. The problem with coughing is that it will make you tired, which is why the huff cough technique is important.

How To Exercise

  1. Sit down comfortably.
  2. Start inhaling deeper than you would when breathing normally.
  3. When blowing out the air, use the muscles in your stomach. While exhaling, make a “ha ha” sound as if you are blowing steam into the mirror.

Tips To Tackle COPD And Lung Problems

When doing any kind of physical activity, if you start feeling short of breath, it is important to stop whatever it is that you are doing. Sit down and relax your shoulders. Slowly breathe in through the nostrils and make sure that your mouth is closed. Slowly exhale through the mouth and count for a few seconds. Repeat these steps until you start breathing regularly.


It might be best to practice these exercises when your doctor is around. Some people tend to feel much better when they are under the supervision of their physician. Of course, along with these exercises, always take your medications for COPD as prescribed by the doctor to avoid any complications. If you notice any changes in your lung health, visit your doctor immediately.