Sports: treatment of chronic bronchitis and COPD

July 2017

Sports: Treating Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)



Physical activity is a very important part of therapy in the treatment of breathlessness and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease). When practiced for two hours per week, it has an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effect that results in a significant improvement in respiratory symptoms.

Chronic bronchitis


It is a chronic condition of the lungs defined as a productive cough for at least 3 months in each year for 3 consecutive years.

The primary symptoms of chronic bronchitis are;
  • Breathlessness - often worse during physical effort
  • Cough - which sounds throaty accompanied with thick profuse sputum.

Chronic bronchitis and COPD

  • Chronic bronchitis is a form of obstructive bronchopneumonia, a disease characterised by a reduction in the passage of air into the lungs, thus causing breathlessness and mucous hypersecretion..
  • In addition, with COPD, pulmonary cilia are affected. Cilia are little hairs that line the airways and are responsible for sweeping and removing the excess mucous from the lungs.

Evolution into respiratory failure


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease can evolve into respiratory failure, making the respiratory system unable to maintain its role and thus causing: permanent breathlessness, tiredness, respiratory difficulties, headaches, episodes of frequent secondary bronchial infections requiring additional oxygen, and/or the need for hospitalisation may also be necessary.

Benefits of a physical activity: at least 2 hours per week

A study conducted on 6790 individuals


According to Inserm - a group of French experts, a study conducted on 6790 individuals during a 11 year period, revealed that active smokers who practice a regular physical activity equal or greater than 2 hours per week have less risk of developing COPD.

A study conducted on 2386 individuals


Another study this time carried out over a 20 year period on 2386 individuals exhibiting COPD symptoms showed that for those individuals who participated in a minimal physical-activity of 2 hours per week, the risk of hospitalisation or mortality from respiratory causes decreased by 40%;

Improved symptoms thanks to physical activity

  • Breathlessnes - is reduced due to improvements of the muscular function
  • Better tolerance to the required effort needed for excercise
  • Improved Quality of life
  • Smaller number of exacerbations

Decrease in hospitalisations and reduction in risk of mortality


The risk of hospitalisation and mortality due to respiratory failure are decreased.

Respiratory rehabilitation


Respiratory rehabilitation makes it possible to decrease breathlessness, cough and excess sputum production.
It constitutes a fundamental treatment of chronic bronchitis and COPD.

Advantages of respiratory rehabilitation

  • It makes those suffering with symptoms more autonomous, especially with their everyday activities
  • Reduction of the symptoms: in particular periods of breathlessness
  • Better adaptation to effort
  • Reduced complications and secondary infection
  • A better autonomy in daily activities
  • Better quality of life
  • Resumption of previous activities
  • Reduction in the number of hospitalisations

For further information

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Latest update on November 30, 2010 at 09:45 AM by Janey39.
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