Top 10 Energy Conservation Techniques for COPD Patients

10 Tips for Conserving Energy With COPD

Senior Woman Looking Through Window
Hinterhaus Productions/Getty Images

Energy conservation techniques are important to learn if you have COPD because they help you better manage one of the most frightening aspects of the disease -- breathlessness. Unlike healthy people, breathing for a COPD patient can be quite a challenge, involving a real, conscious effort.

Why Is it Important for COPD Patients to Conserve Energy?

The following 12 tips for conserving energy will help you pace yourself while you complete your activities of daily living, so you don't become so winded.

Also, keep in mind you should balance these tips with exercise and staying in shape -- consult your health care provider before making changes to your exercise regimen.

Control Your Breathing

Breathing techniques like pursed lip breathing and diaphragmatic breathing can help you fight fatigue and feel less short of breath. For example, when you are performing any kind of activity, be sure to exhale during the most difficult part of the activity using pursed-lips. If you are short of breath, stop and rest for a moment before resuming the activity.

Avoid Unnecessary Activities 

Avoid doing unnecessary activities that will cause you to expend more energy, for example:

  • Wear a terry cloth robe after your bath or shower to save yourself the effort of drying off.
  • Allow the dishes to dry by air instead of drying them by hand, or better yet, use the dishwasher.
  • Sit instead of standing up to do your hair, shave or put on your makeup. According to the Canadian Lung Association, sitting uses 25% less energy that standing.

    Organize Your Activities 

    Taking the time to organize your activities can help you conserve your energy. Try to:

    • Plan your most strenuous activities at the beginning of the day when you have the most energy.
    • Alternate between tasks that are difficult and those that are easy.
    • Plan out your rest periods and don't feel bad if you need more rest on one day than another.

      Organize Your Closets, Shelves, and Drawers

      Place the items you use most frequently between waist and shoulder level, so you won't have to do a lot of bending or stretching to reach them. Keep all items in the area that you use them to avoid extra walking to find them.

      Keep Duplicates of Frequently Used Items In Convenient Areas

      For example, if you have a two-story house, keep one vacuum upstairs and one downstairs. Keep a trash receptacle in every room, so you don't have to walk into another room to discard trash.

      Cook on Sunday For the Entire Week 

      Prepare all of your meals on Sunday and freeze extra portions in easy-to-use storage containers so you can just pop them into the microwave when you are ready to eat.

      Invest in a Rolling Utility Cart 

      A rolling utility cart helps you carry multiple items into another room without having to make two trips.

      Maintain Good Posture

      Proper posture conserves energy. Avoid excess bending or lifting. Use proper body mechanics when trying to move items by pushing, pulling or sliding the item.


      Practice Relaxation Techniques

      When you relax, you help restore energy to your body. Make sure to schedule relaxation periods during your day and when doing so, concentrate on relaxing all your muscles and slowing down your breath. Learn about yogic relaxation methods.

      Ask for Help When You Need To

      Delegate tasks that are too strenuous, like scrubbing floors or moving furniture. You'd be surprised how many people have no clue at how difficult things are for COPD patients, but who would be more than willing to help if you just ask them.

      Continue Reading