Breathlessness is difficult, laboured breathing that can make people feel uncomfortably aware of their breathing. It is a complex symptom involving physical, psychological, environmental and functional factors. 

Breathlessness can be severe and short in duration, or it can be ongoing and gradually increase in severity. It can be continuous, or it can come and go.

Watch our video on how to live well with breathlessness:

Anxiety Related to Breathlessness

Breathlessness is closely linked to anxiety. Anxiety is an emotional response to breathlessness, but it can also make breathlessness worse.  

Watch our video on Living with anxiety here:

The spiral of inactivity

Sometimes, because feeling breathless is unpleasant and makes you feel anxious, you may avoid activities that you know will make you feel out of breath. 

If you avoid these activities, your muscles become weaker. Weaker muscles need more oxygen to work, and so over time, you will become more breathless. This is called the cycle of inactivity.

It is possible to break this cycle of inactivity. By becoming more active, you can make your muscles stronger, including your breathing muscles. Its will help you feel less out of breath when you do everyday tasks.

Watch our videos showing exercises that you can do lying or sitting. This will help you to find the ideal method for you, depending on your current fitness level and how you feel on the day.