Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Rehabilitation

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) touches every part of your life. But pulmonary rehabilitation can help you manage the condition to reduce its impact. Rehab uses a team that combines exercise, emotional support, and disease education. 

You are the most important person team member. The other people on your team may vary and might include a doctor, nurse, respiratory therapist, exercise specialist, dietitian or other professionals.

You and your team create a treatment plan just for you. The payoff is increased control of your symptoms and improved function to help you enjoy a better quality of life.


Exercise strengthens muscles and improves your endurance. Your rehab team will design an exercise program geared to your abilities. Your team will provide guidelines on exercise intensity, length and frequency.

Emotional Support

Coping with COPD can be stressful. Common problems include depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. People can feel cut off from others because of their illness. Emotional and social support is a key part of your rehab plan.

Disease Education

In rehab, you learn about your disease and symptom management. Patient education classes may be part of your plan. Common topics include:

  • Medications – benefits, risks, and proper use
  • Oxygen therapy
  • Preventing respiratory infections
  • Quitting smoking
  • Special breathing techniques
  • Weight management

Getting Started

A thorough medical evaluation helps determine your needs. You and your rehab team will set goals tailored to your situation and the types of activities most important to you. 

From time to time, you and your team will review your goals. Your team can help you improve your progress, overcome barriers and explore new treatment options. Together, you will find ways to live life more fully and as independently as possible.