The study, which examined the physical activity of more than 500 ambulatory clinic patients being treated for COPD, found that patients who had regular walking regimens between roughly two and four miles daily were half as likely to be hospitalized as those who did not walk regularly. These findings were calculated based on self-reported exercise totals from participants, the compared to data on hospitalization records. Patients’ activity was tracked for at least two years.
This study further confirms the importance of physical activity for people living with COPD and chronic lung conditions such as emphysema. While regular exercise may seem like a daunting task, slowly working up to a moderate level of activity can have positive long-term benefits. For those who find this difficult, walking with a family member or pet may prove helpful, as this will provide individuals with the motivation they need to complete their daily exercise goals.
"Of course, daily walking acts to improve the exercise capacity of these patients," said study author Dr. Cristobal Esteban, a staff member in the respiratory service at Hospital Galdakao-Usansolo in Spain, in an article published by Health Day. "Physical activity is a 'medicine' that will improve your general condition as well as COPD."