NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care Greater Manchester Integrated Care Partnership

"I really enjoyed getting on a bike again, because when I was a teenager, I used to cycle a lot."

What is pulmonary rehabilitation programme?

Pulmonary rehabilitation is an exercise and education programme designed for people with long-term lung disease who experience symptoms of breathlessness.

A course typically lasts six weeks and is made-up of two sessions each week which include an exercise and education session. The programme is tailored to suit the needs of each patient based on their condition/s and mobility. The service can be accessed at a range of locations, including community centres, leisure centres and hospitals. Each course is supported by a team of physiotherapists, nurses and occupational therapists.

After finishing the programme, people are encouraged to continue to complete the exercises at home and are provided with an exercise handbook to continue to manage their condition. They are given information on how to access local community-based activities or exercise classes to continue the progress they have made.


The type of symptoms I might have

People who take part in the pulmonary rehabilitation programme find themselves limited by breathlessness when doing everyday things, such as playing bowls, gardening, walking up stairs or simply walking from room to room within their home.

Other symptoms, such as coughing sputum, wheezing, and low energy levels, are also commonly reported. Due to the physical limitations of lung disease, pulmonary rehabilitation has been found to improve people’s mental health, lowering anxiety, depression, and feelings of isolation.

For people with long-term lung conditions, pulmonary rehabilitation is aimed at reducing symptoms, decreasing disability, improving participation in physical and social activities, and improving the overall quality of life of those participating in the programme.


“The positive differences that I have noticed are that I can do a lot of things that I struggled with before. I can now walk up the stairs without being completely out of breath by the time I reach the top, and I also walk for much longer, and my family have noticed the difference the programme has made.”

How can the pulmonary rehabilitation programme help?

You will participate in an exercise class that focuses on training your muscles to work more efficiently. You will be educated on various topics about your lung condition and how to manage it.

The exercises are carefully tailored to each patient’s needs to help them improve muscle strength, improving overall fitness levels which will aid with feeling less breathless.

Pulmonary rehabilitation is not a cure, however, it does help people maximise their lung function. Patients have reported that following the six-week course, they are able to walk further and feel less tired and breathless while doing day-to-day tasks.