Hawaiian woman doing breathing exercises for COPD outside

Some of the breathing exercises that are most helpful for COPD include:

1. Pursed Lip Breathing

Dr. Onugha recommends pursed lip breathing as the number one exercise for anyone with COPD. To perform this exercise:

  1. Breathe in through your nose for a count of three.
  2. Breathe out through pursed lips (as if you are blowing out a candle) for a count of three.

Lynn suggests using this breathing exercise especially when you are exerting yourself. For example, if you're climbing up a flight of stairs, you can take a breath in before you climb, then begin breathing out with pursed lips as you climb a few steps, repeating with two to three steps at a time.

2. Belly Breathing

Belly breathing, also known as diaphragmatic breathing, can help you really empty out your lungs by focusing on breathing with your entire chest and stomach. Performing belly breathing allows your diaphragm to lower, which then allows your lungs to fill.

Here's how to do it:

  1. Place your hand on your stomach and breathe in through your nose. Use your hand on your stomach so you can feel your stomach going out as you breathe in. (Your shoulders, neck and chest should be as relaxed as possible).
  2. Exhale all of the air out through pursed lips, feeling your stomach lower as you breathe out.