View Full Version : Hiking with COPD?

08-20-2006, 01:48
Has anyone here on the list every hiked the AT with COPD? Do you know wnyone that has? What problems did they have if any?

I have heard that except for the Smoky Mountain National Park the air is fairly clear and people do not have any breathing problems.

Eithyer way I plan to give it a try.


08-20-2006, 02:04
Hey there,
I'm an RN, and I take care of people with COPD every day. The first thing I would want to know before giving advice is how far advanced is your COPD,
how long have you had it, and what medications you take. Also what is your usual level of activity. Most people with proper management can do quite well with moderate levels of activity, but EVERYONE is different.
I've been through the Smokys and the Shenandoahs and I was lucky enough to have "good air" on those sections, though it may bother you.
Fred "show-me"

08-20-2006, 02:11
Sorry for my bad spelling on the first try.

Has anyone here on the net ever hiked with COPD? Do you know of anyone who has hiked the AT with COPD? If so how did they make out hiking the trail? My Doctor says I have a mild case, in fact more standard Asthma at this time. I stopped smoking about 20 years ago and it does not seem to be getting worse.

I have heard that the air on the AT is fairly clear except for the Smoky Mountain National Park. If this is the case I should be able to breath better on the AT than I can in the city. At this time it does not cause me any problems when walking or working out.

In either case I plan to give the trail a strong try. At this point I feel that only a bad injury or illness would stop me.


08-20-2006, 02:26
I was only told I have COPD for about 2 years ago and then the doctor said it was Asthma but that now everything was being put under teh COPD name. He put me on s a couple of hand helt breathers but has lately told me to only use them when I really need to. I have been using them less than once a week.

I do a lot of walking and I also work out lifting weights 2 times a week. I also take Karate two nights a week. It has never seem to make a difference. I get short of breath when sparing in Karate, but it does not seem to be any more that the other people do.

If I do something to make me short of breath, like troting fast or walking fast on a treadmill set at an angle of 6 degrees or higher and I can only keep at it for about one hour then I have to rest. Still after about 15 minutes I can start over again.

I hope this give you a better idea about what I am talking about.


08-20-2006, 02:29
Hey Tom,
I wouldn't worry about the air in the Smokys too much. Most people worry more about altitude than ozone. If you can tolerate the activity of hiking from Springer to the Smokys you won't have a problem. Just be prepared and have a plan..... check out this monitoring web site for air in GSMNP
Good luck planning your hike, I'll be out there this Sept 23 - Oct 2.

08-20-2006, 02:38
It sounds like you are doing all the right things. Martial arts and weight training are good, but you have to remember that a long-distance hike is like and endurance thing. Your progress will be affected by you ability to keep going (at YOUR comfortable pace) over the whole day.... week... month. and so on. I don't have a breathing problem, but I'm still a little over weight (a work in progress) so I have to pace myself going up a long climb. I have noticed that as I have hiked more that I don't have to stop as often as I use to. Your Doctor gave you good advice about not using your
MDIs except when you have to, It's easy to become dependent on them.

08-20-2006, 10:14
Ditto regarding the advice to use your inhalers for "rescue" only, but I'd suspect your doc would want to know how many times a week you must use them/it. Have you found trouble associated with this summer's weather where you live?

Your exercise regimen sounds excellent, particularly with the balance in martial arts and the muscle strength and bone building of weights.

I hope you use the next several months to take the stairs at every opportunity.