Like bronchiectasis, living with COPD causes you to experience breathing difficulties, especially during the colder months of the year. According to the COPD Foundation, there are two effective breathing techniques for COPD: pursed-lip breathing and diaphragmatic “abdominal” breathing. Both breathing exercises require practice, relaxation, and concentration to help you create a healthy flow of oxygen that travels through your lungs and airways.1

When we experience shortness of breath, it’s easy to feel anxious and tense, which may keep air trapped in your airways; therefore, it’s helpful to understand these COPD breathing exercises to practice at home or on the go.

When you’re experiencing shortness of breath, tightness of chest, wheezing, or other common COPD symptoms, pursed lip breathing allows you to regain control of your breathing by slowing down its pace and helping you make each new breath more controlled and effective.2 

How to Perform Pursed Lip Breathing

To begin the pursed lip breathing technique, the COPD Foundation recommends the following steps3:

  1. Begin by breathing in through your nose for a count of 2 seconds.
  2. Pucker your lips as if you’re about to blow out a candle.
  3. Slowly breathe out through your pursed lips for 2 seconds.
  4. Repeat this process again until you’re able to slow your breathing down and release any trapped air inside your airways.


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