Pulmonary rehabilitation for those on oxygen

You can still get exercise while on oxygen

Having a strong diaphragm and chest muscles are important to daily life, especially when it comes to breathing.

Many people, however, suffer from conditions that make breathing difficult.

"When they get their diagnosis of COPD or any respiratory things, they think 'Okay, I'm on oxygen. This is my life. I have to stay home.' And it's not like that!" says Nettie Horan, manager of the pulmonary & cardiac rehab center at Mercy Medical Center. "It doesn't have to be."

In fact, rehabilitation programs exist for the purpose of strengthening chest muscles, while still using oxygen.

It is called pulmonary rehab.

Randy Laird has participated in this program for ten years, where he has learned important lessons about his lung capacity, but also eating habits.

"You don't realize what you miss until you don't have it anymore," says Laird.

The pulmonary rehab program uses exercise machines, from treadmills to stationary bikes, to strengthen the diaphragm and other chest muscles.

But, it isn't all just exercise machines.

Kenneth Swanson uses musical instruments as part of his routine.

"It's something I have to do, just like taking medication. If I want to feel good, I have to take the medication," says Swanson. "If I want to feel strong in my chest, I have to blow on my harmonica."

Bruce Hansen recently joined the program and within the first few classes has already picked up valuable life lessons.

"People with our problems, you gotta learn to do something or you are just gonna waste away."

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