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Post-Surgery Breathing Exercises

Post-Surgery Breathing Exercises

Supporting Your Respiratory Health After Surgery

The surgery went well, but now you're home and feeling weak or sore. You’re also likely not moving around too much, and big breaths may feel uncomfortable. Focusing on your lung capacity is vital during your surgery recovery because it helps your breathing, clears your lungs, and lowers your risk of pneumonia. Here are some breathing exercises to help get you back on track.

1. Diaphragmatic Breathing

This exercise helps you use your diaphragm correctly when breathing. Use these steps to start diaphragmatic breathing:

  • Put one hand on your stomach just below your ribs and the other hand on your chest.
  • Take a deep breath through your nose, allowing your stomach to expand fully.
  • Your chest should rise very little.
  • Exhale completely, pushing all the air out through pursed lips as if you were whistling.
  • Repeat 10 times.

2. Pursed-lip Breathing

This exercise slows your breathing and helps you use your lungs more efficiently. Here’s how to start pursed-lip breathing:

  • Breathe in through your nose for two counts.
  • Pucker your lips, as if you were going to whistle.
  • Exhale slowly through pursed lips for four counts.
  • Repeat 10 times.

3. Breath Stacking

This exercise helps increase your lung capacity by gradually increasing the amount of air you inhale. Here’s how to practice breath stacking:

  • Inhale normally through your nose, then exhale completely through pursed lips.
  • On your next inhale, breathe in a little more deeply than before. Exhale normally.
  • Continue inhaling and exhaling, breathing in a little more deeply each time,
  • until you reach your maximum breath capacity.
  • Hold this breath for three seconds before exhaling completely.
  • Repeat 10 times.

Jackson Hole Pulmonary Rehabilitation

After surgery, it's important to follow up with your doctor and get regular checkups. These breathing exercises will help you recover quickly and get back to your normal routine.

St. John's Health pulmonary health rehabilitation program is designed to provide a safe and supervised exercise environment to enhance lung function. You will need a doctor’s prescription to participate in our pulmonary health program. Call 307.739.7628 for more information, or to set up an appointment.

Read More About Pre and Post-Surgery Advice:

Preparing Seniors for Surgery

Activities for Post-Surgery Recovery

Foods That Speed Up Post-Surgery Recovery