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Fitness for Breath Resources

What is COPD?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung disease that includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis or both. COPD is still on the rise in Ontario, in Canada and around the world. Increasingly, women are more affected by COPD than men. COPD symptoms include cough, often accompanied by mucus, increasing breathlessness and colds that lasts longer than usual. People are most likely to develop COPD as a result of cigarette smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke, but sometimes COPD can be caused by other factors, such as air pollution, occupational dust and chemicals, and genetic predisposition. Quitting smoking is the most important thing one can do to prevent COPD or to stop its progression.

Do you have COPD?

Spirometry (a breathing test) is the only objective way to diagnose COPD. Spirometry measures how much air you can blow out of your lungs and how fast you can blow it. Take the Canadian Lung Health Test to see if you need to see a doctor about breathing symptoms and might need a spirometry test to help with the diagnosis.


What is spirometry? A simple breathing test

Help for people with COPD

The Lung Association offers support to people with COPD through our Breath Works™ program.

We have free Breath Works™ COPD booklets and fact sheets that will help you learn how to manage COPD and make living with COPD easier. You can download our resources or order printed copies of our resources by calling the Breath Works™ Lung Health Information Line at 1-866-717-COPD (2673) or emailing us at info@on.lung.ca

Learn more about how to manage COPD by joining a COPD rehabilitation program, lung health support group or COPD education centre near you.

Pulmonary rehabilitation programs help people with COPD become more physically active and learn new ways to reduce breathlessness, increase energy level and regain independence. Education clinics will allow you to learn more about managing COPD by talking to a Certified Respiratory Educator (CRE) or another health-care professional. Support groups will connect you with others who have COPD so you can share experiences, strength and hope with each other.

Fitness for Breath

Regular exercise is of vital importance to people with COPD, in fact it is one of the most powerful tools to manage COPD. The best way to learn how to exercise is to join a pulmonary rehabilitation program. But many people with COPD who don’t have a access to a rehabilitation program or prefer to exercise on their own can also start a self-directed exercise program. Here are a few tools for physical activity, breathing techniques and energy conservation techniques to help people with COPD exercise more effectively and become more physical fit.

Exercise & COPD

Learn more about the importance of exercise for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by watching this short video.

Pursed Lip Breathing

View the two short clips below on how to use pursed lip breathing to help with shortness of breath from COPD or other lung diseases.

Breathing Control & Energy Conservation

Breathworks has created two fact sheets on breathing control and energy management. View the two downloadable versions below.

Assessment & Evaluation Tools

See our list below of COPD assessment and evaluation tools:

  • Six minute walk test
  • COPD assessment test

Smoking Cessation

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death and illness in Ontario. The Lung Association is committed to helping prevent tobacco use, as well as supporting individuals in their efforts to quit smoking.

Journey 2 Quit is an interactive workbook designed as a self-help guide complete with ideas and tools needed to assist people who have decided to quit smoking. It allows people to go at their own pace and comfort level and choose the strategies that best suit their individual needs. The workbook is written in a supportive and non-judgmental way, and is encouraging even when setbacks may occur. You can download or order a hard copy of Journey 2 Quit online or by calling our Lung Health Information Line at 1-888-344-LUNG (5864) or emailing us at info@lungontario.ca