Bronchitis is a medical illness in which inflammation occurs in the bronchial tubes of the lungs, creating mucus and causing the affected individual to cough. Generally, it is OK to exercise with bronchitis, depending on the type of exercise. Some exercises, such as running or biking, are usually discouraged, but walking, yoga, and deep breathing are often encouraged. These types of exercises may even help treat the illness and prevent it from recurring.
The general rule of thumb is that people suffering from a medical illness below the neck should rest. Consequently, many people feel they should not exercise if they have bronchitis. This is not always the case, particularly with chronic bronchitis that is caused by inhaled irritants, such as cigarette smoke. As with any exercise regimen, a person suffering from any form of bronchitis should consult a healthcare professional before exercising.
Walking is one of the best ways to exercise with bronchitis. It is believed to bring more good oxygen into the body and strengthen the lungs. Typically, a person should start walking slowly and for no more than ten or 15 minutes. Then, as she feels stronger, she may walk a little quicker and for a little longer period of time. Eventually, the affected person may be able to walk a rather quick pace for 30 minutes or more, depending on the severity of her bronchitis.
Yoga is another good exercise for people with bronchitis. It is believed to relax the affected individual and open passages to her lungs, thereby reducing the symptoms. There are some poses in yoga that are thought to be more beneficial for people affected with bronchitis, although many poses may be done for purely for the sake of exercising. For example, shoulder lifts and half spine twists are both thought to relax the body and open the bronchioles of the lungs. Also, the relaxation pose is believed to be quite beneficial to those suffering from bronchitis, relaxing the person and making it easier for her to breathe.
Similar to yoga, some deep breathing exercises work to strengthen the lungs. For example, a breathing exercise called pursed lip breathing is thought to be very good for someone with bronchitis. The affected individual simply forms her lips as if she is about to give a kiss, then slowly inhales and slowly exhales. In addition, a person can conduct the alternate nostril breathing technique, covering one nostril at a time, while taking slow, deep breaths.