Incentive Spirometry for COPD

You have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. We say "COPD." One of the ways we manage it is with an "incentive spirometer." It's a simple device that exercises your lungs. Let's see how it works.

How it works

An incentive spirometer is a device you breathe through. There are several styles. A typical device has a hose that leads to a clear plastic chamber. You sit up and hold the device. You inhale slowly through the hose. This causes a piston in the chamber to rise. You move it up as high as you can. Usually, you're trying to reach a goal marked on the side of the chamber. There may be a ball or indicator in the tube, too. It shows you how to inhale at the right speed. When you finish inhaling, you hold your breath for a moment before you slowly exhale.

Personal goal

Your care plan lists your spirometer goal. It tells you how often to use your spirometer, and how many breaths to take when you use it. This is great exercise for your lungs.


Over time, your incentive spirometer improves your lung function. And you'll be able to see the improvement as it happens. Your doctor may ask you to write down your progress. As your lung health improves, your goals may change. Follow your care plan to get the most out of these exercises.