Pulmonary rehab taught me to breathe again. It may sound preposterous, but it’s true. Breathing techniques, being mindful of my surroundings, and prioritizing exercise were all part of the lesson plan.
I had become primarily a mouth-breather, especially while I was sleeping. I chuckled when the pulmonary rehab team told me they would teach me to breathe. They weren’t wrong. First, they had me focus on breathing through my nose. It took concentration, but it helped me to take in oxygen more effectively. Second, they taught me pursed-lip breathing, where you inhale through your nose and exhale through pursed lips. This technique was most effective for me during any type of exertion.
Creating a new habit doesn’t happen overnight — it takes practice. But pulmonary rehab can help anyone create and execute a tailored exercise program to improve their pulmonary health.