Pulmonary Rehab

  • Do You Have Trouble Breathing?
    Discover the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program
    Center for Asthma, Allergy & Respiratory Disease
    Nationally-Recognized Leader in Research & Innovation
  • Breathe Better, Live Better

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The Goals of Pulmonary Rehabilitation

The goals of our program are to enable people with breathing issues to achieve their maximum level of independence and ease of breathing so they can enjoy the most active lifestyle possible.

These goals are accomplished by:

  • reducing shortness of breath
  • increasing tolerance to exercise
  • improving balance
  • and decreasing anxiety about being active


COPD Patients

Patients with COPD are able to improve their level of independence, activity level and perceived quality of life. Exercise strengthens the heart as well as the muscles used for breathing so this can help alleviate shortness of breath. People with COPD tend to limit physical activity because they are fearful of becoming short of breath, but inactivity causes muscle strength and heart health to decline. Pulmonary rehab helps patients maintain physical fitness and regain control of their breathing. They can then pursue activities to the full extent of their abilities.


For patients with asthma, the goal is to help them keep an active lifestyle. Regular exercise can help them maintain control of their asthma symptoms, and reduce the risk of flair-ups, as well as the use of medication. It also boosts the immune system, aids in weight management, and improves the body’s oxygen efficiency, which leads to improved cardio-pulmonary fitness.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) Patients

People with OSA share many of the same symptoms and complaints as those diagnosed with COPD and/or asthma. Participants with OSA see an improvement in their capacity for exercise and the activities of daily life. Their balance improves, and they have increased strength in the muscles they use for breathing. An increased ability to exercise, along with a healthy diet, may lead to weight reduction, which is a goal for many with OSA.

To achieve this objective, each exercise program is customized to the participant, providing them with specific exercises based on their individual abilities and personal goals.

All participants undergo:

  • a comprehensive medical history evaluation
  • complete life-style and fitness questionnaires
  • cardiovascular fitness assessment
  • cholesterol evaluation
  • body composition measurement
  • testing of their strength and balance

These individualized programs, designed by a pulmonologist and exercise physiologist, and held in a controlled setting, help patients safely regain and improve their respiratory health.

What the Program Involves

The Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program runs for 90 minutes once per week for eight consecutive weeks.

Each session focuses on a different topic, such as:

  • balance and mobility
  • fitness and strength
  • nutrition
  • controlled breathing techniques
  • and stress management tools

Pulmonary Rehab Program Timeline

  • Week One: Fitness evaluation, introduction to cardio machines, learn controlled breathing.
  • Week Two: Light strength training and learn about inspiratory muscle trainer.
  • Week Three: Learn about balance and at-home exercises.
  • Week Four: Learn about nutritional information.
  • Week Five: Learn about depression and COPD, asthma, sleep apnea and resource organizations.
  • Week Six: Learn about ways to conserve energy.
  • Week Seven: Nutritional review.
  • Week Eight: Re-evaluation of fitness, home exercise prescription.

Each Session is Supervised by Our Expert Clinicians

All exercise therapy is overseen by a Master’s degree exercise physiologist who monitors each patient’s oxygen level, heart rate and blood pressure.

Each week the educational component includes a cardiovascular session with activities such as walking on a treadmill or riding an upright bike.

Strength training may include working with lightweight dumbbells or resistance bands.

Fall Prevention is a Top Priority for Us

Poor balance is a medical issue affecting a large number of people and our pulmonary rehab program specifically addresses this issue with exercise and instruction.

Balance training may use stability balls, chair, and wall support, and dynamic body movements.