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Feature Article

Optimising function in COPD: physical activity and pulmonary rehabilitation

Jennifer Alison, Sue Jenkins

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Abstract

National and international guidelines strongly endorse the benefits of physical activity and exercise training via pulmonary rehabilitation in patients with COPD.

Key Points

  • Physical activity levels are reduced in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • Lower physical activity levels in patients with COPD are associated with poorer outcomes.
  • People with COPD should be encouraged to meet the recommended guidelines for physical activity.
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation, which includes exercise training and education, is an essential component in the management of COPD.
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation improves exercise capacity and quality of life, reduces hospitalisations for acute exacerbations and may improve physical activity levels.
  • All people with COPD should be offered pulmonary rehabilitation.

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