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Home > Wellness > Health Library > Cal's Story: Learning to Exercise When You Have COPD
That's what Cal asked himself over and over after he was
diagnosed with severe COPD 5 years ago.
"I spent the first 2
years moping around the house, feeling sorry for myself," he says. "I didn't go
anywhere, I didn't do anything. I just sat in front of the TV and tried not to
think about anything."
Then one day Sonny, his 5-year-old
granddaughter, walked up to him as he sat in his easy chair. "She looked up at
me—she's got these enormous brown eyes—and she said, 'Poppy, why won't you come
outside and play with me?'
"Well, it about broke my heart. I
decided that day to get out of that chair and get back into life. The trouble
was, I couldn't take 10 steps without getting out of breath."
he decided 10 steps was a good start. "I got on our old treadmill and walked
for 1 minute that first day."
It was really hard for Cal. He had
to stop twice, and he needed his oxygen while he was doing it. But he did it
again the next day, and the next. Then he decided to see if he could add 1
minute of walking each week.
One minute gradually became 5
minutes. Then 5 minutes eventually turned into 15 minutes.
was 3 years ago," says Cal. "Now I walk an hour around my neighborhood every
day. That's right, an hour! And I do it without my
Cal thinks it helped a lot that he increased his walking
time so gradually. It kept him from getting discouraged. "Now I feel better
than I have in years. I'm really amazed."
And after school every
day, Sonny and her little brother come over and play in the yard with their
This story is based on information gathered from many people living with this condition.
you need more information, see the topic
Current as of:
March 12, 2014
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Ken Y. Yoneda, MD - Pulmonology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
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