Although there is no evidence suggesting that people with COPD have a higher prevalence of falls compared to a matched, healthy population, common risk factors for falls (such as reduced lower limb muscle strength, decreased daily physical activity and reduced standing balance capacity) are also associated with COPD (see Eisner 2008 and Roig 2009). As a result, maintaining and enhancing balance is important especially for patients with a balance deficit or those with an increased risk of falls.
The following exercises can help improve balance:
- Lower limb muscle strength training such as one leg standing, sideway leg lifting and stepping up and down on a block (start by holding the back of a chair to aid balance)
- Tai Chi