Fitness for Breath

“My breathing is much better. I have noticed a real difference since starting the Fitness for Breath class.”
– Fitness for Breath participant

People living with chronic lung disease are caught in a difficult cycle – cardiovascular exercise is essential for strengthening their lungs, yet at the same time, lung disease often prevents them from participating in regular fitness programs.

To help solve this challenge, the Lung Health Foundation has developed and implemented an innovative model for exercise maintenance for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), as well as other chronic lung diseases such as severe asthma and pulmonary fibrosis. In partnership with fitness centres and with the support of pulmonary rehabilitation programs, it has been introduced across Ontario.

What is Fitness for Breath?

Fitness for Breath is a respiratory exercise maintenance program designed as post-rehabilitation. It is not intended to replace rehabilitation, but instead provide a resource to continue your exercise routine. In the Fitness for Breath program, participants learn the importance of staying active for life and the health benefits of exercise.

The Goals of Fitness for Breath

  • Encourage an inactive population to become active for life
  • Improve participants’ activity and daily function
  • Improve physical literacy and fundamental movement skills
  • Provide an accessible and safe exercise environment, and
  • Strengthen the community recreation sector.
Fitness for Breath engages older adults and seniors with chronic lung disease in regular physical activity to motivate them to maintain an active lifestyle, help to manage their lung disease and to continue the gains received from their participation in pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) programs. For people with chronic lung disease like COPD, regular exercise results in fewer flare-ups and hospitalizations and a better overall quality of life.


This section contains two e-learning modules and two presentations that have been designed to assist with lung disease (COPD) education, setting up new Fitness for Breath program sites and lung health support groups and creating suitable at-home exercise programs for people living with lung disease.

At home Fitness for Breath workout

Follow along with our Fitness for Breath workout videos at home. We’re currently in the process of adding more so please subscribe to our YouTube channel for more.

Are you a fitness trainer? Get involved!

​These e-modules will help you bring Fitness for Breath to your community. For additional information and help getting started, please email us

Lung Health 101 Basic Training

This course delivers “lung health 101” training and educates trainers on chronic lung disease (specifically COPD). This is the first session that you should complete if you’d like to start delivering a Fitness for Breath program in your community. 

Fitness Trainer Program

This course assists fitness trainers in planning and implementing their Fitness for Breath exercise maintenance program for participants living with a chronic lung disease. It is intended for trainers who have completed a “Lung Health 101” training through the Lung Health Foundation, Heart Wise or another certified training program.

Find a Fitness for Breath location

Classes are supervised by qualified and trained fitness staff at each Fitness for Breath program location. They are designed to work with people at any fitness level and ability. Classes are offered a minimum of twice a week and are at least 60 minutes in length. The class components may include the following:

  • Aerobic exercises
  • Resistance / strength training
  • Flexibility exercises.


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