Let’s talk about our backsides. Those of us with bronchiectasis tend to be thin. This could mean a loss of fat but also a loss of muscle. As you can imagine, losing muscle is not a good thing especially for the buttocks. The gluteal muscle is big for a reason. It does the heavy lifting in a lot of everyday activities like climbing the stairs and getting us up from a chair or the floor.
The great news is that strengthening your backside is simple. All you have to do is lower your body down as if you were going to sit in a chair,( you don’t need to drop too far), and then stand back up again! Watch your form so that your upper spine is not curved forward. Only go as far as you are able to maintain a relatively straight spine position.
You can do these mini-squats when you have a few free minutes during your day. Or, you can set aside time several days a week to practice them. If you have a joint issue and mini-squats are difficult, you might want to work with a physical therapist or personal trainer to isolate and strengthen that particular joint. Then, daily activities will be easier and so will exercise.
Over time, you’ll be better able to squat down to pick something up from the floor or while gardening instead of having to bend at the waist. This is especially important if you have gastric reflux. Controlling reflux is critical to controlling aspiration of harmful liquids into the lungs that can increase lung tissue damage and exacerbate bronchiectasis. Whatever your situation, strengthening your gluteal muscle is good for you, no ifs, ands or butts about it!
Before you start or change an exercise program, be sure to get your doctor’s medical clearance.
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Linda Cooper Esposito, MPH is a health educator with bronchiectasis. She developed the BE CLEAR Method to Living with Bronchiectasis and writes with compassion and humor about this chronic lung disease.