Better access to lung exercise classes could help tackle sedentary lives

The British Lung Foundation has called for access to specialist lung exercise classes to be improved, as around half of people who aren’t active regularly feel weekly exercise would pose a risk to their health.

A survey of 2,000 people, commissioned to raise awareness of the lack of tailored lung exercise classes across the UK, found 16% of people who claim to exercise regularly only do so once a week. More than a quarter of adults avoid exercising at all.

It found 27% of people exercised to safeguard themselves from future health issues, while 20% exercised mainly to keep themselves looking their best.

One in 10 said regular activity helped them deal with an existing health issue, while a third had used some form of exercise to aid their recovery from an injury.

Twelve per cent said they had been recommended a tailored exercise class to help them overcome an existing health condition by their GP.

The British Lung Foundation said it was essential to increase access to pulmonary rehabilitation classes, which offered exercises for people with a lung condition.

“Access to lung exercise classes across the UK is patchy. Often people are left waiting months to start a course, which is unacceptable,” said Mike McKevitt, head of patient services at the charity. “A national plan to transform care and treatment for people with lung disease could change this.”

Of the people who avoided exercise completely, one in four stated that they would be encouraged to exercise more if they had more facilities local to them.

Professor Karen Middleton, chief executive of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, said: ”Pulmonary rehab can have a huge impact on quality of life, helping people to breathe easier and stay out of hospital.

“But at present, too many people are missing out because they do not get referred so we need get greater awareness of just how important it can be.

“Giving people better access to rehab is good for the individual and good for the system, as it cuts hospital admissions and reduces demand on other services, so making that a reality must be an urgent priority.”

A separate survey conducted by the British Lung Foundation earlier this year found that the average adult feels breathless six times a week, often as a result of “light to moderate” exercise such as running for a bus.

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