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Structured exercise programs known as pulmonary rehabilitation are also available to patients with COPD. Pulmonary rehabilitation can help you increase exercise tolerance and decrease breathlessness so that you can get on with daily activities. Normally, pulmonary rehabilitation will consist of aerobic and strengthening exercises, but the type and intensity of the exercises will be determined by your physiotherapist after an initial assessment.

Fact sheets about exercising with COPD and pulmonary rehabilitation are available at the Lung Foundation Australia website, and extensive information is available at the associated website pulmonaryrehab.com.au.

Other changes you can make include dietary changes (avoid heavy consumption of mucus-producing foods, such as dairy products), and environmental changes (avoid areas with heavy air pollution, fumes or smoke; make sure you get plenty of fresh air). These should be discussed with your doctor, who can recommend any other lifestyle changes that need to take place.

Changing your smoking habits, exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet and, importantly, surrounding yourself with a supportive team of healthcare professionals, friends and family will put you firmly on a path to better health, so you can feel great, look great and breathe easy!

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