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  • Christina Hunt

Hauling A Load – How to Decrease Breathlessness While Carrying Anything



One of the top five actions that any person with a lung condition finds difficult is carrying ANYTHING. I hear this often when I am assessing new patients. The act of carrying items happens multiple times a day, every day of the week. I can imagine that this burden of frustration for many people struggling with their lung condition is immense. Whether it is the act of carrying in grocery items, carrying an oxygen tank or concentrator, carrying a laundry basket, carrying a heavy purse, or carrying a child…You have all been there when your load is heavy and your breathlessness weighs even heavier.


Here is some advice to make carrying ANYTHING easier with less breathlessness:


1: Focus on upper body strengthening when you are exercising. There is no doubt that having a strong upper body can make any load seem lighter. So many of my patients rush through lifting weights for upper body strengthening at our rehab. We try and make the suggestion that if you are inclined to rush through or skip these exercises… put them in the “middle” of your exercise routine. As you get stronger and the weights that you are lifting seem lighter, progress yourself by increasing the weight that you are lifting.


2. Practice good body mechanics. Keep the items you are carrying mid-line to your body. Try not to carry anything with your arms out to the sides. Carry the item close to your midsection with both arms not just one. Having the use of both arms with give you more strength and will not burden your body quite as much. Also, remember to keep your back straight and don’t lean back to support the weight.


3. Breathe and/or Pursed-lip breathe- One of the biggest mistakes people make when carrying anything is they hold their breath. When carrying don’t forget to breathe! Using breathing techniques will help prevent your shortness of breath from occurring so quickly, will help you complete the task of carrying an item and will help you to recover faster from any shortness of breath that occurred.


4. Don’t rush- Rushing anything is a quick way to bring on shortness of breath. Taking your time will help keep shortness of breath at bay and will also prevent any injury resulting from going too fast.


5. Recognize your limitations and don’t carry more than what is comfortable. Sometimes taking more trips can be easier on your breathing than carry an item or items that are too heavy for one trip. Carrying too much weight can quickly make you breathless and can possibly cause injury from strain or stress on the joints.


6. Get a rolling tote or crate – Thank God for the internet and the ability to purchase items at the tip of your fingertips. A rolling tote will give you the ability to transport items in and around the home like groceries, clothing, and in my case children’s toys to the appropriate room. When I was researching for this blog I saw a bunch of different options online.


I did like the fact that this one I have posted here (if you click on the image you can find it on Amazon) is collapsible, rated well, and has the extendable handle. Feel free to check your local Walmart, Target, or big box store for other options if interested.


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