This past year has been difficult for many people to remain physically active. With quarantine, gym closures and social distancing, many of us have been left deconditioned and fatigued. Individuals who are considered “high risk,” such as those who are over 65 years of age or those who have chronic lung conditions, may have been extra cautious socially, making it difficult to find time, space, or motivation to exercise.
As time goes on, you may notice yourself having difficulty in rediscovering motivation and the energy to exercise. When physical activity is not part of our daily routine, our muscles begin to atrophy and our cardiopulmonary system has to work harder to do simple tasks. This deconditioned state can be ever-present for those living with chronic lung diseases, such as COPD, asthma or pulmonary fibrosis. Deconditioning can lead to an increase in your respiratory symptoms and can make it difficult to perform daily activities. If this is you, don’t worry! Island Hospital’s Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program can help. Pulmonary Rehabilitation is an exercise and community education program for those with lung conditions. Past participants have reported the following benefits while participating in the program:
- Decreased shortness of breath
- Increased exercise tolerance and strength
- Increased stamina and energy levels
- Improved ability in doing daily activities
- Better understanding of medication use and breathing techniques
- Better weight management
- Increased independence and quality of life
- Decreased anxiety and depression
- Benefits from having access to a support system
- Overall improved sense of well being
Currently, our program is held three days a week with sessions lasting between one to two hours. You will need a referral from your doctor and a pulmonary function test to see if you qualify for Pulmonary Rehabilitation. Ask your provider or call our program coordinator at (360) 299-4242 for assistance. After a year hiatus, we are happy to be back open. We are ready to exercise, and we hope you are too!
Sarah Edwards, RRT, CPFT, MPH is a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) who has been practicing since 2010. She got her start as a new RT here at Island Hospital where she was trained in emergency care, intensive care and acute care. Edwards then moved to Jacksonville, FL where she was instrumental in reopening a pulmonary rehabilitation center that had been closed for two years. Edwards recently finished her Master’s degree in Public Health at the City University of New York and worked in the Pulmonary Function Lab at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center prior to returning to Island Hospital in 2021.