Staying Active During Safer-at-Home

Posted on April 27, 2020   |   

This article was written by Richard Casaburi, MD, PhD and Harry Rossiter, PhD

People who have participated in COPD360social cannot have escaped the message that maintaining activity is important in maintaining health. Pulmonary rehabilitation, one of the best therapies we have to offer for COPD, aims to encourage higher levels of activity in everyday life. We are now in the middle of a crisis in which one of the unintended and underappreciated consequences will be to reduce the level of daily activities in millions of people.

What are the consequences likely to be? We have clues from studies conducted years ago in which researchers studied the effects of 20 days of voluntary strict bed rest in young healthy subjects. Tests conducted before and after this 20-day period revealed that exercise capacity (the ability to perform high levels of activity) was reduced by about 30%. These subjects then went back to their normal lives, and normal activities. Interestingly, these same people had their exercise capacity determined 30 years later…when they were in their 50s. Their exercise capacity was about the same as it had been after 20 days of bed rest. The startling implication: 20 days of bed rest had the same detrimental effects as 30 years of ageing!

For most of us, as we get older we become more sedentary. This is doubly true for people with COPD, where shortness of breath is a disincentive to performing vigorous activities. Throw in a "stay at home" situation and the effect on periods of activity can be profound.

It is wise to organize “stay at home” activities. Click to read more about safely increasing your activities at home; links to videos are also provided.

Keep safe! Keep healthy! Keep active!

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