Exercise and education offers a new lease of life for people with lung illness

Online help provided by an Oxford Health is helping to keep pulmonary patients active.

Exercise and education offers a new lease of life for people with lung illness

Oxford Health is giving its backing to a week set up to celebrate life-enhancing work done by the Trust and others like it across the UK.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation Week UK runs from June 21-27 and aims to raise the profile of the work done to help people with a range of breathing problems to lead healthier and happier lives.

Pulmonary rehabilitation is designed to improve the breathing ability and wellbeing of people with lung disease. According to the Royal College General Physicians patients who complete Pulmonary Rehabilitation can reduce the time spent in they spend in hospital significantly.

You can find out more about the kind of breathing problems the team treats here and if you are concerned your first port of call is your GP.

Chris Swindale, an Oxford Health respiratory physiotherapist, said:Pulmonary rehabilitation gives people with lung illness knowledge, skills and confidence in managing their own health care. It provides the opportunity to address the physical, emotional and mental difficulties that patients face due to lung illness.

“It is a highly effective mix of exercise and education which improves exercise intolerance, impaired quality of life and limb muscle weakness associated with a range of chronic respiratory diseases.

“As well as helping people to exercise, the knowledge that physical activity can actually improve your condition is invaluable. That is why we are keen to support Pulmonary Rehabilitation week as the message that exercise can improve breathing, and that there is support if you have lung problems, is really important.”

In a typical year Oxford Health supports around 500 patients and, with the pandemic meaning that access to the gyms where the exercise sessions were held was curtailed, Chris and the team launched online classes to make sure that patients got the help they needed.

As a result of the success of the virtual groups, Oxford Health has gone on to set up maintenance groups online, where patients who have completed the course can still log on to participate in exercise sessions that they otherwise wouldn’t have access to.

A towering achievement

Oxford Health’s team like to make exercise interesting and challenging and in previous years have challenged patients to collectively walk a marathon for Pulmonary Rehabilitation Week.

This year patients are being asked to virtually “climb” the Burj Khalifa – a skyscraper in Dubai – which has 2,909 steps up to level 160 and ladders to climb any higher. The climb is simulated with leg-lifting step exercises which, while it doesn’t involve international travel, does present a tough yet fun goal.

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Published: 18 June 2021