I know the best thing I can do to help myself is to keep my body moving. But that comes with problems as all you at stage 4 know. Up on our feet and our blood saturation levels fall, although oxygen should protect us. But even with oxygen we can and do become breathless. We never know how far or how much we have moved with only our own instinct to guide us. But are aware that to move that bit outside our comfort zone, there could be rewards that make our efforts more than worthwhile.
Like many my problem is I know I have to keep my body moving even though I get breathless. I know to do nothing and sit in my comfort zone that my lungs will deteriorate much more quickly, which in turn will leave me much more open to more serious exacerbation and illness. But am never sure how far or how much I have moved, even to did I do better today than yesterday. But move we must as that maintains a certain level of fitness even if at times we do not appreciate it. Our legs, chest, breathing muscles, and heart all benefit making moving a must. So am delighted I have now found a way to measure how much I have moved with the benefits shown. The results, to me, are amazing.
I was browsing the internet and looked at a smart watch. A fitbit HR although I am certain almost any smart watch, as long as it also records heart rate 24/7, will do fine. What attracted me to this product was I am aware my heart has suffered through my copd and inability to exercise as much as I would like to. And I wanted to see what my heart was doing. The resting heart rate. The highs. The lows. Sure knowing how many steps I have made and how far I stepped in total that day was interesting. As was calories used, and consumed if I could be bothered to enter what I had eaten. This watch also told me how long I had slept, woken during the night, or just been plain restless. I now know I only sleep about six hours a night. How many floors I have climbed will be recorded but I don’t climb stairs. The graph I am most interested in though is my heart rate. I can read from this an amazing amount of information including how long I was in the cardio zone or fat burning zone, the rest being a sort of resting normal zone. Technology is simply amazing.
The advice is to walk 10,000 steps a day. Ignore as after all if you have severe copd you are not likely to do that. Some days I would do less than a 1,000 steps, and most days it would be little more than a thousand. But at least I have an idea how much I am moving. I started to set little targets to move a little more by increasing my daily steps. Little and often but all to the good. If you get on your feet and do as little as 30 steps ten times you have 300. There are trips to the toilet. A short trot through the house. A walk to the car. Making a drink in the kitchen. Into a shop or the restaurant. You will be amazed by doing normal daily activities how many steps we make. But how do I know this has done me good?
It’s all in the heart rate. As the heart gets stronger. And it will if you step a little more. Breathless or not. When I first wore my smart watch at the beginning of July my top heart rate was 129 beats a minute. Now it is 108 tops. I have also noticed my sleeping heart rate has dropped from the 70’s to the mid 60’s. And that my resting heart rate has fallen to 80bpm. Yes that might sound a bit high but with copd, on oxygen, breathlessness and all we endure. Not that bad. I have a problems with calories. Am still too heavy and would love to lose some weight but have to admit my options are limited. I will exercise as I can. Do my best. Keep what is left of my lungs as strong as I am able, and attempt to keep heart fit. But am now a full fan of the smart watch.
I now always keep my mobile oxygen concentrator on a trolley when out and about. It is far easier and less tiring than to carry 8 pounds or so on my shoulder or in my hand. I have slowed down a bit more to pace better. Meaning I get a little less breathless. Again it is all in the pacing. But am equally sure that now I am doing a little more that too is helping me to also be a little less breathless.
Hope you have enjoyed the read. And if you have or get a smart watch. Let me know and we can compare notes. Till my next blog keep smiling. But most of all. Breathe Easy..