- Start with short walks. Your breathing muscles and your walking muscles need to get into shape.
- Use “rhythmic breathing.” Count the number of steps you take while inhaling, and double the number of steps for exhalation. (Example: two steps, inhale; four steps, exhale.) Do not change the rhythm from inhalation to exhalation.
- With practice, you may find that a 1:3 rhythm is more comfortable than a 1:2. Use the rhythm that is most comfortable for you.
- Gradually increase your walking distance as you get stronger. Try to add a little more distance every week. Don’t overextend yourself.
- Set reasonable goals. Plan rest stops. Don’t allow yourself to get overly tired.
- During inclement weather or at times of the year when you’re most uncomfortable, you can exercise in climate-controlled areas like shopping malls or in a more formal environment like a hospital rehabilitation area.
- Remember to go slowly; don’t rush, get stronger gradually, and most of all, enjoy yourself.
If you have oxygen, check with your physician about the correct amount to use while you’re walking.
- Do not attempt to walk and talk while beginning your exercise program.
- Inhale through your nose and exhale through pursed lips.
- Exhale at least twice as long as you inhale. Don’t force the air out during exhalation.