Better Breathing Might Be as Easy as a Walk in the Park, Experts Say

COPD is one of the most debilitating diseases a person can suffer from. Short for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD is effectively a combination of two separate diseases, chronic bronchitis and emphysema. And if you’ve ever paid attention to the haunting visual public service announcements that decorate public transportation, you have an idea how harmful (and painful) those particular diseases can be.

Luckily, a new study has found that one simple method can be helpful for curbing the effects of COPD — and all it takes is a walk around the block. The study, which recently appeared in the journal Respirology, recommends taking a two-mile walk every day in order to potentially reduce hospitalizations from the life-threatening breathing disorder.

Of course, walking longer than two miles is always good, but you don’t want to overdo it. After all, COPD causes the patient’s lungs to decrease their ability to inflate with air over time, which makes strenuous physical exercise a dangerous gateway to additional problems. Still, a few casual strolls can be good for folks with the condition, as well as good for the rest of the body, says respiratory physician Cristobal Esteban, who authored the study.

“Physical activity is a ‘medicine’ that will improve your general condition as well as COPD,” Dr. Esteban told South Carolina’s WMBF news.

Two-mile walks can really benefit anyone, whether they’re suffering from COPD or simply need a break from their everyday stresses. That’s not necessarily breaking news, but for the one-third of Americans reported to be obese, it can be a game-changer. As plenty of studies are quick to point out, Americans could benefit from a bit more time spent engaging in physical activity.

But treating COPD and breathing disorders like it can even begin with smaller, more focused steps. Just ask teacher Max Strom, who runs workshops specifically designed to steer the body toward healthier breathing patterns through simple exercises. And you can’t discount the benefits of good breathing. In fact, a new Guinness World Record was set in 2002 for circular breathing, which was achieved by holding one continuous note for 47 minutes and six seconds. As you can tell, the human body is capable of truly extraordinary things when it comes to breathing.

“The average stress-filled American lives in the elevated state of fight or flight too many hours of the day,” Strom recently told the Frederick News Post in Maryland, “and there are well-documented health consequences like sleep dysfunction, depression and anxiety.”

The best way to beat those negative consequences? Keep breathing, but learn how to do it correctly. Couple that with some daily walks around the block and you have everything you need for a healthy set of lungs. At least, that’s what the experts keep telling us.


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