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Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Pulmonary rehabilitation (rehab) programs help people with chronic lung problems breathe better and improve their overall health and strength. The programs are led by healthcare professionals who are trained to treat people with lung disease. With their help, you’ll learn about your condition and gain skills to help you manage it. Pulmonary rehab can help people of all ages, including those over age 70.


Rehab therapist working with senior woman doing exercises with hand weights.

Pulmonary rehab programs include:

  • Exercise. To help you increase endurance, strength, and flexibility.

    • You may walk, ride a stationary bike, or do exercises in a chair.

    • You will be taught stretches to do before and after exercise.

    • You may also use weights to build strength.

    • Your pulse, heart rate, and oxygen levels may be checked during exercise.

  • Education. About your lung problem.

  • Self-management. Information about medicines, oxygen, and other equipment.

  • Counseling. Emotional support and problem-solving.

  • Stop-smoking. For smokers, ways to quit and support.


Pulmonary rehab will help you:

  • Do more of the things you enjoy.

  • Improve your strength.

  • Be more independent.

  • Complete daily activities, such as household tasks, with less shortness of breath.

  • Manage your symptoms and medicines. This can mean fewer emergency room visits and less time in the hospital.

  • Deal with shortness of breath.

  • Quit smoking. This is the most important change you can make for your health.

  • Get answers to your healthcare questions.

  • Set and meet realistic self-management goals.

© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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