Living well with breathlessness

On this page we have information for how people living with breathlessness can live well, and we also have information for carers.  

Keep as active as possible  

As your muscles recover after exercise, they adapt to use oxygen more efficiently. With regular exercise, you’ll need to breathe less to do the same activity.

It’s normal to get out of breath when you exercise. However, If you avoid activity that makes you get out of breath, this will make your breathlessness worse. Your muscles will get weaker and need more oxygen to work.

Find out more about why keeping active is good for your lungs. You can also try our Keep Active programme to help you get active at home.  


Making daily tasks easier

  1. Plan your day and pace yourself, to make sure you have plenty of time to rest.
  2. Break down your activities into smaller tasks that are more manageable.
  3. Find simple ways to cook, clean and do other chores. You could use a small table or cart with wheels to move things around your home, and a pole or tongs with long handles to reach things.
  4. Use a towelling robe after showering or bathing, as you’ll use less energy than drying off with a towel.
  5. Hold a handheld battery fan near your face (about 6 inches54) – this can help you feel less breathless.55 56
  6. Put items that you use frequently in easy-to-reach places.
  7. Keep your clothes loose, and wear clothes and shoes that are easy to take on and off.
  8. Use a wheeled walking frame with a seat to help you be more active.
  9. Don’t be afraid to ask for support when you need it.
  10. Be patient with yourself and give yourself time to do things.

Try playing an instrument or singing

Singing or playing a musical instrument can help you to control your breathing. We have more information about singing for lung health and playing a musical instrument.  

You can also join our free online support groups:  

  • Motivational Mondays singing for lung health sessions. The sessions include relaxation, breathing exercises, and singing.  
  • Harmonica for lung health is a chance to learn how to play folk, country and blues music with a harmonica. You’ll also learn new breathing techniques to help strengthen your breathing muscles. 

Eat a healthy diet

If you live with a lung condition, eating well is very important for your overall health. A well-balanced diet with the right vitamins and minerals can help you stay strong and fit. It can also help prevent chest infections and keep your lungs healthy. 

We have more information about eating well with a lung condition. 

Support for sex and breathlessness

Just like other physical activity, sex can make you breathless. We have more information on how to manage breathlessness during sex.

Support for carers

It can be hard to see someone you care for struggling to breathe. We have more information and support for people who care for someone who is breathless. This includes how to care for someone with a lung condition, looking after yourself as a carer, and work and benefits advice when you’re a carer.  

Get support

Call or WhatsApp our Helpline for support with your condition. Get advice on your medicines, symptoms or travelling with a lung condition, or just call us to say hello.

Did you find this information useful?

We use your comments to improve our information. We cannot reply to comments left on this form. If you have health concerns or need clinical advice, call our helpline on 0300 222 5800 between 9am and 5pm on a weekday or email them.

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