Exercise Management TipsKeep Records to Track Your Progress
One approach is to keep a written (such as on the computer) exercise diary. A step counter, or pedometer, is an easy-to-use monitoring device. Low-cost, battery-operated step counters are about the size of a small MP3 player. They are worn on your belt and record the number of steps that you take throughout the day. The step count is displayed on a digital screen so you always have feedback on how much you’re walking.
Your aerobic exercise program can include a target number of daily steps, often set at 10,000 steps per day, which may help motivate you to reach your exercise goals.
Repeating the physical fitness testing you did with your care team before starting your exercise program will give you important information on how exercise is helping your body. This information is useful for modifying the exercise prescription during the program and for evaluating the overall success of the exercise program. It may help you and your health care provider decide on whether to begin new CF therapies or modify your current therapies.
In the past, many people assumed that only vigorous activities such as running would benefit health. Scientific research has debunked this myth. It has been shown that the type of activity is less important than doing regular exercise.
We suggest you select an activity that you enjoy and thus are more likely to regularly do. Walking, swimming, jogging, running, ice-skating, bicycling, elliptical strider and tennis are examples of aerobic activities that are at least moderate intensity. If the activity is done long enough, it benefits your health.
What about Stretching?
As part of your cooling-down period after exercise, think about doing some gentle stretches. Not only will these stretches help you wind down after exercise they may improve your flexibility. This slideshow from the Mayo Clinic explores some of the more important stretches to include in your routine.
Is Exercise Safe?
Regular exercise is a good health habit. But you should talk with your doctor or physical therapist about any risks that may result.
The most common risk during exercise is musculoskeletal injuries, such as sprained ligaments, strained muscles and overuse injuries. Injury risk is higher in those with a history of previous musculoskeletal injury and is associated with exercise intensity.
The risk of exercise-related cardiovascular complications (e.g., heart attack) is quite low. Cardiac events during exercise are most likely to occur in people with existing cardiovascular disease and in those who are inactive and out of shape.
The risks of exercise can be reduced through sensible habits that include:
Talk to your doctor or physical therapist before exercising if you have:
Modify your exercise program when you have:
What Else You Can Do
Remember, the severity of your lung disease and certain medications may change how your heart rate responds to exercise. You should always talk to your doctor or physical therapist to be sure you are monitoring your exercise intensity correctly.
Want to Challenge Yourself Even More?
If you are thinking of doing a competitive sport, keep these things in mind:
Many adults with CF are able to participate in strenuous sporting events, including marathon running. Talk about these activities with your health care team before starting.