By Kiara Tatum
With warmer temps here, it finally feels like spring in the air. Keeping that in mind, it’s time to get outside and spring into action. It’s not easy for young adults with pulmonary hypertension to do a lot of outdoor activities because of the limitations that our bodies have. We can’t run or jog 10 miles a day or swim laps. Here are some tips that might help you get started to getting active this spring.
- Before you start any exercise or activity program, consult with your pulmonary hypertension specialist.
- Start slow. Begin with a short distance and short sessions. Start walking, riding a bike, or whatever chosen outdoor activity for about 10 minutes per day, at least three times a week, and close to home. Once you notice that you are able to endure that without becoming too short of breathe for you, then increase your days and distance or time you do that activity. Then maybe by the end of the summer, you will be able to take a nice long hike or ride on a bike trail.
- Be prepared. Make sure that you have bottled water with you or access to clean water, wear sport socks and appropriate sneakers, and lightweight clothing.
- Don’t be ashamed to rest. If you are doing an outdoor activity, and you feel yourself becoming short of breathe, dizzy, heart palpitations; then just stop and rest. It’s nothing that you should be ashamed, embarrassed, or afraid to do. Your body has limitations, and because of your PH diagnosis can’t always push yourself on.
- Pay attention to the temperature and humidity. Don’t do an outdoor activity if the temperature and/or humidity is too high. It’s harder to breathe in the humid weather for those with pulmonary hypertension or other lung illnesses.
- Don’t do it alone. Sometimes what’s great is to have a friend, family member, or even your dog tag along with you. Just remember that you need to set the pace for the walk, hike, bike ride, or whatever chosen outdoor activity.
Whatever outdoor activity you choose—walking, bike riding, etc., enjoy it and have fun! It feels so good to be able to be outdoors and enjoy the warm fresh air.