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Portable Oxygen Concentrator Resource Center

Resolutions for a Healthier New Year

Posted by Lisa Burkhart on Dec 29, 2023 4:03:17 PM
Lisa Burkhart


happy new year

As the calendar turns its page and a new year dawns, individuals around the world contemplate resolutions aimed at enhancing their lives. For those living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), or other chronic respiratory conditions, setting specific and attainable goals can significantly contribute to improving their overall well-being. COPD, a progressive lung disease that includes conditions such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema, requires a comprehensive approach to managing symptoms and maintaining a good quality of life. Although there is currently no cure, there is a lot that can be done to slow the progression of this disease. We thought we’d help you out with a  curated list of New Year resolutions tailored to empower COPD patients on their journey to better health.

Commit to Regular Exercise:

  • One of the cornerstones of managing COPD is physical activity. New Year resolutions could include incorporating low-impact exercises like walking, swimming, or stationary biking into daily routines. Setting achievable fitness goals, such as gradually increasing the duration and intensity of exercise, helps improve cardiovascular health, strengthen respiratory muscles, and enhance overall stamina.

  • Many respiratory patients experience degradation of loss of quality of life which is often due to loss of lung capacity, but more often it is due to loss of mobility due to loss of muscle. It’s important to maintain as much muscle as possible to maintain mobility. Low impact exercise such as yoga, tai chi, use of resistance bands or Pilates can help maintain muscle strength and elasticity leading to improved quality of life.

  • Exercise doesn’t necessarily have to mean lacing up your tennies and going to the gym. Dancing is good exercise. Singing is great for your lungs. Even harmonica playing can be a great lung workout. Pick a physical activity that you enjoy so you’ll be more likely to stick with it, whether it’s walking your pup, singing along to your favorite soundtrack, or learning something new, like playing a wind instrument.

Adopt a Balanced Diet:

  • A nutritious diet plays a pivotal role in managing COPD symptoms. Resolving to consume a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can positively impact respiratory function and boost the immune system. Additionally, maintaining a healthy weight can alleviate the strain on the respiratory system, making it easier for COPD patients to breathe.

  • The American Lung Association suggests at least 2 servings of lean protein per day. Also, keep in mind that carbohydrates produce the most amount of CO2 when digested and fat produces the least. Stick to complex carbs only and get plenty of healthy fats. Someone with regular lung function may use about 50 calories per day in the simple act of breathing. Someone with advanced lung disease may use up to 750 calories per day in order to breathe. If you don’t have enough food intake, your body may begin to eat muscle in order to nourish itself, which is known as muscle wasting. Loss of muscle can lead to loss of mobility and degraded quality of life, as we mentioned before.

Quit Smoking for Good:

quit smoking-1

  • For COPD patients who smoke, the single most impactful resolution is quitting smoking. The new year provides an opportunity to seek support from healthcare professionals, support groups, or smoking cessation programs. Quitting smoking not only slows down the progression of COPD but also significantly improves lung function and reduces the risk of exacerbations.

  • To successfully quit smoking there are several free resources to quit smoking. Join our private Facebook Support Group. At the top of the page you’ll find a drop down menu at the top called “Files”. You’ll find several free downloadable resources including our strategies to quit smoking for good.

Consistent Medication Adherence:

  • Resolving to adhere to prescribed medications consistently is crucial for managing COPD symptoms effectively. Setting up a routine, using reminder tools, and maintaining open communication with healthcare providers can aid in staying on track with medication regimens. This resolution is fundamental in preventing exacerbations and maintaining optimal lung function. 

  • Adverse drug reactions account for about 1.3 million emergency department visits each year. Don’t assume your doctor knows all of the other medications that you are using. If you are being prescribed something new, be sure to ask your doctor if it is safe to use with any other drugs you are using. There are also many apps available that can send you dosage reminders, keep track of refills, and also warn you if any new medications you are on or supplements you want to try, are likely to interfere with your other medications.

Prioritize Effective Disease Management:

  • Enrolling in a pulmonary rehabilitation program is a valuable resolution for COPD patients. These programs offer a structured approach to physical exercise, education, and support. Committing to attending regular sessions can improve respiratory muscle strength, enhance coping mechanisms, and foster a sense of community among individuals facing similar challenges. 

  • We realize that many patients don’t have access to pulmonary rehab, either for geographic or financial limitations. This is why we have uploaded an extensive library of videos, downloadable items, and blog articles that talk about nutrition, exercise, symptom management, and mental health support. 

Practice Mindfulness and Stress Reduction:


  • The correlation between anxiety and stress and COPD exacerbations is well-established. Anxiety can trigger a fight or flight response within the body causing rapid heartbeat and shallow breathing which leads to feelings of breathlessness. Learning controlled breathing and emotional grounding techniques can control anxiety and ease breathing.

  • New Year resolutions can include incorporating mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga into daily routines. Reducing stress not only benefits mental well-being but also positively impacts respiratory function and overall health.

Regular Health Check-ups:

  • Pledging to prioritize regular health check-ups and follow-ups with healthcare providers is essential for COPD management. Routine monitoring allows for early detection of changes in symptoms, adjustment of treatment plans, and proactive management of the disease. Being vigilant about health check-ups is a proactive step toward maintaining optimal respiratory health.

  • Be sure to inform your doctor right away if you have an uptick in symptoms, no matter how minor. Also be sure to have a good understanding of what procedures you should follow if you should experience a symptom exacerbation. It’s particularly important to understand when and how to use your rescue medications.

Seek out Educational Opportunities:

  • Empowering oneself with knowledge about respiratory disease management is absolutely essential. Understanding the disease, its progression, and available treatment options can help patients actively participate in their care. Accessing reputable sources, attending educational sessions, and engaging with healthcare providers facilitate informed decision-making and effective self-management.

Practice Daily Symptom Monitoring:

  • Collaborating with healthcare professionals to develop a personalized COPD action plan is a resolution that enhances preparedness for managing exacerbations. An action plan outlines specific steps to take in case of worsening symptoms, helping patients and caregivers respond promptly to changes in symptom severity.

Cultivate a Support System:

  • Resolving to build and nurture a strong support system is crucial for COPD patients. This can involve communicating openly with family, friends, and healthcare providers about challenges and seeking assistance when needed. A robust support system contributes to emotional well-being and provides practical assistance during difficult times.

Get in the Habit of Checking Air Quality both Indoor and Out:

  • Commit to improving indoor air quality to create a healthier living environment. Consider using air purifiers, maintaining proper ventilation, and reducing exposure to indoor pollutants such as dust, smoke, and strong odors. This resolution can significantly alleviate respiratory symptoms and enhance overall lung health.

  • Use HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Absorption) filters when possible. Certain vacuum cleaners, furnaces, and air cleaners can be used with these filters which absorb allergens, bacteria, viruses, and other particulates.

  • Air cleaners have what is called a CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate). This rating lets you know how big a room that specific air cleaner will clean effectively. Get one that is rated a little bit greater than the room you’re placing it in. Then you don’t have to run it on the very highest setting. It should run a little quieter so it doesn’t disturb you, and may save you a bit on your electricity bill as well.

Stay Hydrated:

  • Set specific hydration goals to ensure adequate water intake throughout the day. Staying hydrated helps thin mucus in the airways, making it easier to clear the lungs and breathe more comfortably. COPD patients should aim to drink a sufficient amount of water daily, as recommended by their healthcare provider.

  • Also keep in mind that your lungs are comprised of about 83% water. If your body requires water for cooling, digesting food, or other bodily functions, it will siphon water from other parts of your body if you are dehydrated. Because your lungs contain such high water content, they are a likely source to be drawn from, degrading lung function. Dehydration dries out airways which creates mucus making it difficult to breathe which can bring on an exacerbation. Drink water, juice, or warm liquids. Warm broth or herbal tea can provide hydration as well as relax airways making breathing easier.

Engage in Breathing Exercises:

  • Incorporate daily breathing exercises into your routine to strengthen respiratory muscles and improve breathing efficiency. Techniques like pursed-lip breathing, diaphragmatic breathing, and controlled breathing exercises can aid in managing breathlessness and enhancing lung function.

  • On our YouTube Channel we have an easy to follow video on how to do pursed        lip breathing as well as other techniques used in active cycle breathing. Click here: O2 Classroom Active Cycle Breathing Technique Follow Along

Create a Safe Environment:

  • Resolve to create a safe and accessible living space that minimizes fall risks and optimizes convenience for daily activities. Simple adjustments such as removing tripping hazards, installing handrails, and organizing living spaces for easy navigation can significantly improve safety and independence for COPD patients.

  • Keep your home free from breathing hazards such as cleaners with heavy fumes. Even something that smells good, such as scented candles or potpourri can irritate airways. 

Social Engagement and Hobbies:


  • Make a resolution to engage in social activities or hobbies that bring joy and fulfillment. Whether it's joining a community group, pursuing creative endeavors, or participating in activities that spark interest, maintaining social connections and hobbies can positively impact mental health and overall quality of life.


In conclusion, New Year resolutions for COPD patients should revolve around holistic approaches to managing the disease and improving overall well-being. These resolutions encompass physical health, mental well-being, and proactive management strategies. By committing to these resolutions, individuals with COPD can embark on a journey towards a healthier, more fulfilling life in the coming year and beyond. Remember, the key lies in setting realistic goals, celebrating small victories, and staying resilient in the face of challenges.

Topics: COPD, COPD Treatment, Diet Tips, Disease Management, COPD Exacerbations

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