Exercise has been shown to provide numerous benefits to the quality of life of CF patients. Increased respiratory muscle endurance, increased sputum expectoration, and reduced rate of decline in pulmonary function are all advantages that people with Cystic Fibrosis can enjoy by adding exercise to their daily schedules.
Exercise and an Active Lifestyle
Talk to your doctor
It is important that your first step in implementing an new exercise regime be consulting your physician. Your doctor can help educate you on which exercises can be beneficial for your health and which sports to avoid (some activities can actually wear the joints and exacerbate lung and heart ailments).
Your doctor can also order an exercise test to assess the individual strengths and needs of your body. These results are invaluable in selecting the types of exercises that best fit your physical requirements and your lifestyle.
An active life for any age
It is never too early or late to incorporate exercise into your daily life. Though, there are certain considerations to take through each stage of life.
It is vital that children build strong exercise habits at a young age. Incorporate daily activities into their lives and reduce the amount of time they spend on tv and video games. These are habits that will grow into their adulthood.
Self Confidence is particularly important in the lives of growing teens. Finding activities that emphasize fun over competition is helpful in keeping your teen invested and consistent in their exercise habits. Group activities are also very encouraging. By adding a social experience to exercise, youths can get the friendship and support they need.
The greatest care adults need to take when adding exercise to their lifestyle is making sure they don’t overstress their bodies. Adults can build their fitness with simple activities like walking, biking, and swimming and add more strenuous exercises as they become more conditioned.
Adults should engage in a wide variety of activities to avoid boredom, and they should also join groups to help maintain exercise accountability and motivation.
Types of Exercise for Cystic Fibrosis
Cardiovascular activities are important for Cystic Fibrosis because they strengthen your lungs and heart. This helps alleviate the greatest problem associated with Cystic Fibrosis and puts you in a better condition to fight off lung infections.
Running and biking are two great examples of cardiovascular activities. Exercises that involve weight resistance can also help build stronger muscles and bones. But the most important exercises to incorporate are exercises that you enjoy.
Studies have shown that daily exercise is the most important part of staying active for CF patients. If you look forward to exercising, you won’t miss a day.
Safety is always key. Pay attention to the weather, what sort of gear you may need for your activity, your lung function, and how your body feels. If something seems wrong, pause to make sure that everything is okay.
Nutrition can be difficult for people with Cystic Fibrosis. Be sure to consume enough calories to support your active lifestyle. CF patients sweat more during exercise and need to supplement their salts and electrolytes. Staying hydrated is also incredibly important. Keep these things in mind and you’ll be exercising for years to come.
Helpful exercising tools & equipment
Treadmills, stationary bikes and other indoor workout equipments are an excellent way for people with Cystic Fibrosis to get the exercise they need at any time of day or year. With equipment like a treadmill or stationary bike, exercise doesn’t depend upon weather conditions or the time of day.
There are also many fitness tracking watches and fitness apps that can help keep you on track and can be used to monitor heart rate, calories burned, distances and activity vs inactivity.
Helpful Exercising Tools
Come up with a program and stick with it. It’s important to feel encouraged and see the progress that you’re making. If you keep track of your workouts with a goal in mind, reaching that goal will motivate you to set new ones and continue exercising.
Keeping track of your body is also important, track your lung function levels and compare your results to the past. Also, continue getting exercise tests with your doctor. This will give you an idea of what exercises benefit your body the most.
There are some very helpful apps and tools online that can help you build a plan and keep track of your progress and encourage you to keep going.
Stay Connected and Motivated
A great way to stay motivated and connected within the Cystic Fibrosis community is on Strava, Facebook and other social media sites that host large CF communities.
Strava is a fitness, sports-focused social network site where you can track bike rides, runs, swims and hikes. The IV Solutions Facebook page also provides an easy way to stay connected with the CF community and friends who will help keep you motivated in your journey.
Don’t be afraid to use all the tools available to you and make the most of your time and efforts. Set your goals high and you won’t be disappointed.
Far-Reaching Benefits of Exercise
If you have Cystic Fibrosis and you’re wondering if exercise can help you, the answer is: absolutely. The benefits are incredible and far-reaching.
According to medical studies, exercise has even helped CF patients at the cellular level by promoting improvements in ion balances through activity in the sweat glands and airways. Through daily treatment and consistent exercise, staying healthy is an attainable goal.
An active lifestyle is a healthy lifestyle, and it can be yours. Talk to your doctor; find something that works for you, set your goals and work towards them.
Exercise is Medicine in Cystic Fibrosis. MedScape. 2011. Accessed April 27, 2015
Exercise Management Tips. Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. December 26, 2012. Accessed April 27, 2015
Day-to-Day Exercise and Cystic Fibrosis. Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. December 26, 2012. Accessed April 27, 2015.
Best Fitness Apps for 2015. Live Science. December 24, 2014. Accessed April 28, 2015.
Strava, social network. Accessed April 28, 2015
IV Solutions Facebook Page. Accessed April 28, 2015.