Healthy Living

12 Tips on Exercising with Cystic Fibrosis

12 Tips on Exercising with Cystic Fibrosis

While regular exercise can offer several benefits to all individuals, it can have an even greater impact on individuals living with cystic fibrosis. It is believed that being physically active with CF can help dispose of mucus from the lungs, slow down lung function decline, reduce stress levels, help the body fight off unwanted infections, and improve sleeping patterns.

There are several different types of exercises and each offers different benefits. If you have CF, knowing which exercises are right for you can help you to maintain good health. The most important elements in exercise are posture, breathing and chest mobility, leg strengthening, and endurance. For babies and toddlers, recommended exercises include crawling, throwing balls, rolling, reaching above the head with both hands, pushing or pulling toys, singing, and blowing bubbles. For early and middle-aged children, recommended exercises include biking, throwing and catching balls, dancing, walking, playing jumping games, and playing instruments. For pre-teens, teens and adults, recommended exercises include walking, running, swimming, playing basketball, doing yoga, singing, playing instruments, and working out by doing sit-ups, push-ups, crunches, and squats.

Getting professional help

There are several individuals that you can consult with about what type of exercises are right for you and the benefits that they can offer to your overall health. A physiotherapist can educate you on the different ways in which you can keep your airways clear of accumulation of mucus and an exercise physiotherapist can help you understand how your body functions while you are exercising. Moreover, a dietician can educate you on what type of foods you should be consuming to give you energy, help you receive the necessary nutrients you require, and help you maintain a healthy weight.

“One thing I love about exercising is I tend to drink much more water than I ever would otherwise. Sometimes when it is hot, I will drink up to two liters of water during and following exercise. I believe this is very good for my kidneys, hydrating the mucus in my lungs, maximizing the ability of my blood to carry oxygen, and just overall flushing my system. Again, when swimming it is more difficult to hydrate while in the water, and requires extra drinking after instead of during. For me, exercise is one of the most important components of staying in control of my cystic fibrosis (CF) both physically and mentally. I have always believed that airway clearance is only half of the equation for lung health, and that airway EXPANSION is the other half. I also think that my self-esteem, sense of empowerment, anxiety levels and stress, and ability to stay positive is largely impacted by being active,” wrote Brian Callanan, founder and executive director of the Cystic Fibrosis Lifestyle Foundation (CFLF).

Callanan has 12 tips for people living with cystic fibrosis to follow to help them exercise. Read on and learn more about them.