How can I conserve my energy if I have chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD)?

Plan periods of rest

Be sure to get plenty of rest. You might need to plan at least one rest period every day. If you have swelling in your feet or ankles, elevate your legs when you are resting or sitting for prolonged periods. Avoid working long days. Rest between recreation and leisure activities.

Conserve your energy

Using less energy with daily tasks can help you have more energy to do more activities during the day. You might need to cut down on some of your activities or use energy-saving devices or techniques. If daily self-care or home care activities are too tiring, discuss this with your doctor.

Here are some energy-conserving tips:

  • Simplify your tasks and set realistic goals. Don't think you have to do things the same way you've always done them.
  • Plan your activities (chores, exercise, and recreation) ahead of time. Space out your activities throughout the day. Do not schedule too many things to do in one day. Do the things that take more energy when you are feeling your best.
  • If needed, rest before and after activities.
  • If you become tired during an activity, stop and rest. You might need to finish it on another day or when you feel less tired.
  • Do not plan activities right after a meal. Rest 20 to 30 minutes after each meal.
  • Ask for help. Divide tasks among family and friends.
  • Get a good night's sleep and elevate your head when sleeping. Be careful not to nap too much during the day or you might not be able to sleep at night.
  • Do all of your grooming (shaving, drying your hair, etc.) while sitting.
  • If needed, use devices and tools that assist you such as a walker, shower chair, hand-held shower head, bedside commode, or long-handled tools for dressing (such as a dressing stick, shoe horn, or sock donner).
  • Wear clothes that have zippers and buttons in the front so you don't have to reach behind you.
  • If your doctor says it's OK, you may climb steps. You might need to rest part of the way if you become tired. Try to arrange your activities so you do not have to climb up and down stairs many times during the day.
  • Avoid extreme physical activity. Do not push, pull, or lift heavy objects (more than 10 pounds) that require you to strain.
  • For more energy-saving tips, tell your doctor you would like to speak to an occupational therapist.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/14/2018.


  • American Lung Association. Lung Disease: COPD. ( Accessed 4/22/2019.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). ( Accessed 4/22/2019.

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