Exercises included in pulmonary rehabilitation programs include walking, stair climbing, arm lifts, breathing exercises and weight training. Exercise is the most important component for pulmonary rehabilitation programs, according to WebMD.
Exercise programs for pulmonary rehabilitation often have routines that focus on working the legs. Walking is commonly done on a treadmill or around a track. Studies show that a majority of proven benefits from pulmonary rehab are from doing leg workouts, notes WebMD. In addition to being important for everyday activities, the muscles in the upper body help support healthy breathing. Upper body exercises for pulmonary rehab include turning a crank resistance machine and repetitive arm lifts.
For patients with extremely weak breathing muscles, a pulmonary rehab program may include breathing through a mouthpiece against resistance. However, this type of exercise is uncommon, states WebMD. The main focus of most exercise programs for pulmonary rehab is building endurance. This is often done through lifting weights, which increases muscle strength and mass.
In addition to exercise programs, pulmonary rehab may include measures such as quitting smoking and avoiding smoky places, eating a healthy diet and oxygen therapy. Group or private sessions are often offered to help educate patients on these rehab methods, according to WebMD.