Our Physiotherapist, Jackie Snape, has devised some exercises for our chest and trunk during this period of house arrest. She says:
“I thought it would be useful to put together a couple of exercises which will be of general help to our health and wellbeing. The idea being to optimise the capacity of the lungs, to mobilise all the various joints involved and to exercise all those muscles that play a part in our breathing. I suggest practising these at least 3 times a day. If you become unwell with the virus and are able to continue with these exercises I suggest you try to do them 6 times a day but only if you are not too breathless and at all times medical advice would take priority”.Jackie Snape
6 steps for healthier lungs
Use a dining room chair and sit in an upright posture, slightly away from the chair back and feet firmly on the floor. Make sure you have fresh air – no candles, air fresheners or log burners etc and open a window.
- Let us loosen up your shoulder girdles first. With your hands on your lap: Pull your shoulders up towards your ears and then push them down as far as you can, repeat x6. Then move the point of your shoulder forwards and then pull back as if you are pinching your shoulder blades together x6.
- Arms bent, elbows out to side, so the finger tips rest just above the shoulders. Rotate the trunk to the left and breathe in as you do, rotate to the right and breathe out as you do.
- Same position as above, side bend at the waist to the left and breathe in as you do, side bend to the right and breathe out as you do.
- Place your hands in the prayer position and reach your hands up towards the ceiling, breathe in as you do, hold your breath for the count of 5, bring your hands down and breathe out as you do.
- Place your palms flat on your upper tummy and lower ribs, the finger tips of each hand just touching. Take a deep breath in feeling your finger tips part. Take your time over the breath in and the breath out, allowing your lungs to deflate completely.
- Practise coughing. Breathe as in exercise 5. Use the third deep breath to cough. Feel how powerful that can be. (Please have a tissue in your hand and cover your mouth).
There is a risk of becoming very light-headed with deep breathing exercises. For this reason, I suggest you take 10 to 15 minutes to complete the above exercises allowing yourself to shallow breathe at intervals. Practise each of the movements say 6 times, taking your time. That is a lot of deep breathing so make time for some shallow breathing between each change of exercise.
Likewise, these exercises should not give you pain. You may feel the effects of stretching into ranges you are not used to and that is expected but you should stop any movement that gives you sharp pain.
These exercises are a general guide aimed at efficient movement of our chest, rib cage and lungs. There is no implication that they will directly affect the virus and they are not specific to any particular chest condition.
Please feel free to email email@example.com for advice and support.