Conserving Energy

7 Ways to Conserve Energy When You Have COPD

The HealthCentral Editorial Team Mar 28th, 2012 (updated Jan 25th, 2014)
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If you have COPD, you know that saving your energy and breath for what matters is a good way to make life easier. Here's more information on how to get the most from your stamina.

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Let your fingers do the walking
Let your fingers do the walking

Keeping your most-used items within arm's reach can save you effort and fatigue. Even in big homes, most of us have certain places where we perch for most of the day, such as an armchair, a desk, or a couch. Keep common items handy at each of these places so you don't have to get up and move around if you want to write something down, change a TV channel, or answer the phone.

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Get comfortable!
Get comfortable!

Comfortable, easy clothes, such as those with elastic waists, zippers, or slip-on shoes can make getting dressed easier. If changing clothes is still a chore, there are shoehorns and other implements that can make it easier.

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Stay seated
Stay seated

When you have healthy lungs, the idea that standing up could be a chore probably sounded like a joke. But COPD makes even these basic movements tiring. Many of the chores that come with grooming and other daily skills can be done more easily if you're sitting down. Try putting a chair in the shower or in front of the mirror, so that bathing, shaving, and doing your hair don't wear you out.

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Rest
Rest

Taking frequent rest breaks between activities can help prevent fatigue. Even if you don't fully sleep, spending time quietly without moving much can help you recharge. If you don't like to be idle, you could spend the time writing letters, reading, or working on a small project.

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Pick a wheelie
Pick a wheelie

Wheeled carts aren't just useful outside the house--they can also help you carry heavy or awkward items from room to room.

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Plan your day
Plan your day

The same activities, errands, and other events that you used to attend can still be a part of your life, but chances are you'll need to schedule your day so that you don't have to do too many things at once. Try picking only a few activities per day, and factor in plenty of rest time. This will help you get things accomplished without getting overly tired.

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Concentrate your efforts
Concentrate your efforts

It can be hard to consider letting some activities go, but managing the fatigue that comes with COPD means that it's probably more important to concentrate on doing activities that bring you joy than wasting energy on unimportant tasks. Every once in a while, re-evaluate where your energy is being spent, and see if there's something you can let go in order to be present and energized for those you love.