Learn About Exercise and CF
Beyond the Basics
Why Exercise Matters
There is growing agreement about the role of exercise both for preventing new diseases and for managing disease in many people. Just as the use of diet, medications and therapy, like airway clearance have a place in CF health, so too does exercise.
Even moderate amounts of physical activity — like brisk walking and bicycling — can help extend life and help people stay active and independent. The benefits of regular activity are seen in women and men, older and younger adults, and in those who have health conditions, including CF.
In 2008, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released the first-ever federal guidelines on physical activity for Americans. The guidelines encourage all adults to do at least 150 minutes per week of physical activity that is at least moderate intensity, over and above usual activities of daily living.
An example might be 30 minutes of brisk walking (moderate intensity) on 3 days, plus 20 minutes of jogging (vigorous intensity) on another day of the week. As physical fitness improves, adults are encouraged to do an activity for longer or greater intensity to get more health benefit.
The guidelines also recommend that adults do resistance exercise, like weightlifting, two days per week. This type of activity provides benefits that you can’t get by aerobic exercise alone.Why You, Why Now?
So, how does all of this apply to you? People with CF can safely exercise. It is clear that regular exercise will give you the same benefits as it does people without CF.
Even when you are in the hospital you should try to move about as much as possible. This will help you maintain your fitness level and you will do better when you are discharged. When you are in the hospital, ask your CF team to have an order written so someone can help you exercise while you’re there.
The bottom line is that our bodies were made to move. Being inactive is unnatural for your body and can give rise to disease and disability.
Just as an automobile that sits unused in a garage for a long time likely will not function at a peak performance, the same is true for a human body that has long periods of being inactive. The good news is that most people can quickly fix inactive living through simple and low-cost lifestyle changes.
Now, let’s start exercising!