Exercise and Chronic Restrictive Pulmonary Disease

Range of Motion offers Exercise Physiologist designed one-on-one exercise sessions for individuals with this condition. Book a complimentary consultation or contact us to find out more.

The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.

Based on guidelines provided by the American College of Sports Medicine.

Condition Overview:

This condition is characterised by a diminished lung volume. This reduced volume has multiple causes, including those related to the chest wall, respiratory muscles, nerves and pleaura.

Mechanical ventilatory function is impaired in terms of:

  • Reduced airflow rates.
  • Reduced ventilatory muscle strength, endurance and efficiency.
  • Increase in required work from the respiratory muscles to inflate the lungs.
  • Increase in dead space, resulting in reduced capacity for oxygenation.
  • Increased peripheral lactic acid production during exercise due to greater requirements of the ventilatory musculature.

The above limitations lead to cardiac dysfunction, resulting in cardiovascular deconditioning and compounding the negative primary effects of CRPD.

Short Term Response to Exercise:

Due the reductions in lung volume, and the impairments outlined above, the following exercise related symptoms are apparent:

  • Reduced exercise tolerance.
  • Exertional dyspna characterised by rapid, shallow breaths.
  • Reduced ability to reach oxygen requirements of exercise at high intensities.

Long Term Response to Exercise:

Long term physical conditioning for sufferers of CRPD is of immense benefit, both due to the increased feelings of wellbeing, and the following physiological factors:

  • Improved aerobic endurance.
  • Improved oxygen consumption.
  • Improved endurance and efficiency of ventilatory musculature.
  • Improved cardiovascular conditioning.
  • Improved efficiency, function and endurance of skeletal muscle.
  • Reduction in blood flow requirement of ventilatory muscles due to increase efficiency. Leads to an increase in available blood flow to skeletal muscle.

Condition Management:

Aside from drug based therapies, the following aspects aid in the treatment of the underlying disorder:

  • Provide supplemental oxygen therapy if required.
  • Manage body composition.
  • Correct any nutritional deficiencies.
  • Manage blood pressure.
  • Control exposure to environmental irritants, including cigarette smoke and pollens.

Hsia, C. C. W., (2003). Chronic Restrictive Pulmonary Disease. In: Durstine, J. L., Moore, G. E. (2003), ACSM’s Exercise Management for Persons with Chronic Diseases and Disabilities 2nd Ed. (pp 99-104) American College of Sports Medicine, Human Kinetics

Dan Williams

Dan Williams


Dan Williams is the Director of Range of Motion and leads a team of Exercise Physiologists, Sports Scientists, Physiotherapists and Coaches. He has a Bachelor of Science (Exercise and Health Science) and a Postgraduate Bachelor of Exercise Rehabilitation Science from The University of Western Australia, with minors in Biomechanics and Sport Psychology.

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