How can I help manage COPD?

Living with COPD? Here are some healthy lifestyle changes that can help your COPD symptoms.

Stop smoking

Quit smoking
The most important thing you can do to slow the progression of your COPD is quit smoking. Ask your doctor for resources that can help.

Breathing exercises

Practice breathing
Breathing exercises for COPD can be an important part of your treatment plan. See two simple exercises you can do right now.

Eating healthy

Eat well
You need energy to manage COPD, and a healthy diet can help. If you’re overweight, losing weight can make it easier to breathe while you go about your day. Talk to your doctor before starting any nutrition program.

Rescue inhaler

Be prepared
Always keep your rescue medication with you for sudden symptom flare-ups. Avoid known COPD triggers (like dust or smoke), and stay inside when outdoor air quality is poor.


Stay active
Move! Getting active now is essential if you want to stay active in the long term. Consult with your doctor before adding exercise, which may help improve your overall strength, including the muscles you use to breathe.


Keep it simple
Give yourself extra time to do everyday activities. Simplify basic tasks and chores. For example, keep items you use often within easy reach. Choose clothing and shoes that are easy to put on and take off.

Go to Helpful Resources for links to COPD foundations and advocacy organizations that may help you live better with COPD.

Breathing Exercises for COPD

Pursed lip breathing:

  1. Breathe in through your nose, counting.
  2. Breathe out through pursed lips, and try to exhale for twice as long.

Belly breathing:

  1. Relax your head and neck, and breathe in through your nose as you count.
  2. Try to feel your belly rising and falling.
  3. Breathe out through your mouth, trying to make it last two to three times as long as your inhale.
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