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British Lung Foundation
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PR - struggling!

Hi, I have just started Pulmenory Rehab course - was nervous to start with but was keen to do because of positive comments from Blogs. My GP wanted me to do course due to information I would get.

However I have just started course and 2 hour class was mainly exersizes from physio who informed us breathlessness was no big deal and no pain no gain!! Well my breathlessness IS a big deal - I have been know to pass out due to it. And feel get enough excersize trying to maintain my part time job!

Quite disappointed by class - although I do intedn to talk to OT (who seems nice) next class about my situation. Maybe PR not for me at moment? Worried it going to make me too ill for work.


9 Replies

Hi Bevvy, Try not to push things to hard. From my experience the physio's at PR only get you to do what your capable of. Start off slow and gradually increase your exercise to a level that your comfortable with and try to ignore what those around you are capable of doing. I am the youngest in my class but have to admit defeat to my older colleagues when it comes to the dreaded sit to stands. On a very good day I can manage 35 in 2 minutes. No your limits and I urge you to keep going to PR as it will get easier in time. :)


Hi Bevvy, I would go to the person that seems to be in charge of running the course and ask outright about the educational side also mention about your first intro to the PR course as mainly a 2 hour exercise and about exercise session, ask is next session going to be any different? Ask for a programme of course content.

Did the physio talk for one hour and go through exercise movements for the other hour?

Breathlessness is part and parcel of our everyday lives, I exercise and am always breathless when I do so. I get breathless from walking from one room to another, but I still do the walk. I am at a loss as to why your course began as it did. Hope you can get some answers next session you go. The idea is to benefit patients to help them manage their symptoms and improve their fitness endurance, mobility etc. Not to right them off on first session with a 2 hour exercise session!

I did a blog way back which included pulmonary rehabilitation videos, the PR courses set by NHS, the content is clear (You may find using search box). If not check out the NHS Choices video below:


Its mentioned a couple of times in the above video its not just about exercise.

Hope you find the course runs as it should be run and you begin to enjoy and feel the benefit.

Update us as you go.


I was told a similar thing about breathlessness. "Everybody gets breathless at some point, look at athletes" What the professionals fail to understand is the amount of times we get breathless and how tiring it is. Athletes choose to get out of breath, unfortunately we have no choice.


My PR was brilliant I wish I could do it again. Every session started with a gentle warm up then we did a type of circuit training (a go on everything in other words) then a coffee/tea break then a talk with a professional anything from a pharmacist to a dietitian then another 15 minutes of gentle exercise to show us how to cool down. At the end of each session I felt really invigorated and at the end of the course we were given a contact to go to the local council run gyms for free sessions or at minimum cost I just wish I had taken the offer up.


I'm a great advocate of PR but feel that you should not be doing 2 hours of exercise. when I did PR it consisted of 1 hour of exercise plus 1 hour of education about how to manage your copd. I agree that it is ok to be breathless during exercise but your oxygen sats should be monitored to ensure that they are not dropping to low. Your physio should also tell you to stop exercise if you feel dizzy at any time. Please do not give up, talk to the physio.

There have been a lot of very possitive blogs about PR if you click on Pulmonary Rehab in the tags to the right of the blogs page or enter it into search at top of the page.

I'm sure that you will benefit from PR if you stick at it. I found it very hard at first but after a few weeks really noticed the benefits.

Best wishes

Jo :-)


You may find answers to this question useful


Best wishes

Jo :-)



I am not the physio, nor am I a physio but could your physio really have meant that you being breathless in the PR class is not actually a problem as in the context of not harmful for your existing health problems?

I would suggest you approach her and talk to her about your concerns, I am sure she would put your mind at rest. I would also talk to her about your concerns over the duration of the exercise sessions. I do know that physios are very knowledgeable and I have always had the greatest respect for their knowledge but obviously, just like us, they are human and do sometimes get it wrong.

Don't be downhearted as I am sure whatever concerns you have will be taken seriously if you talk to your physio.

In respect of your exercise with your part time job. I don't know what it is you do. I, prior to other health problems forcing me to give up work some years ago, was a nurse and was ward based. I thought that because that was very much a physical job and I was on the go most of the time I was there, I thought that kept me fit - I was wrong because I did not have the aerobic exercise I needed for my lungs.

Stay positive and hope things work out for you




Thanks for all the positive comments I have had.

I will be speaking to my physio about situation.

My concern re breathlessness is "yes I am regualry breathless" but if I push myself too hard I am known to pass out as a result - it has taken me some time to get my understanding of my self and my condition(s) so that I am less likely to have a problem but am very wary of trying too hard for my own good!


Hi I am surprised they are pushing you so hard. When I went to PR they told us to only excercise to borg level 4 - being a bit breathless but you can still talk. The borg level ranges from 1-7. 1 being not breathless at all to 7 completely out of breath and verge of passing out. We only had 45 minutes of excercise with a drink and biccie after. I think you need to have a chat with them pronto.

bev x


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