Exercising when you have CF is important for two main reasons: it can help clear mucus from your airways and improve lung function. Other benefits unrelated to CF include strengthening bones, preventing heart disease and diabetes, and improving mood and social relationships.
But how do you create a fitness plan that works for you? The key is to work with your CF healthcare team to develop a program you’ll enjoy that fits your lifestyle. A CF physical therapist can also find ways to help you with your posture, build or regain your muscle strength, as well as help you learn airway clearance techniques. Although everyone with CF is unique, exercise at any level provides physical and mental benefits.
You should be able to talk while you’re exercising, and if you can’t, you’re overexerting yourself. Try making little changes to get in a bit of activity each day: take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk your dog, dance around your house, walk around a mall, or park further away from your destination. The key is consistency.
Brian Callahan, a 40-year-old cyclist born with CF, has some great tips to get you started:
1. Make a daily commitment to exercise, don’t wait for motivation that may not come.
2. Allow yourself plenty of time to warm up.
3. Set long-term as well as daily goals.
4. When you cough, see that as a positive thing.
5. Push to find your personal limits.
6. Take the time to rest.
Josh Llewellyn-Jones was born with CF and was only given a 10 percent chance of surviving through the night when he was born. He’s created a challenge for himself, and plans to exercise for 24 hours straight in support of CF. He’s been training hard and will attempt the challenge in July, just before his 30th birthday. To follow his progress, you can go to 24 Hours for CF.
Here are some wise words from Josh that may help motivate you:
1. Take control of your life and if anyone ever says you can’t do something, make damn sure you show them otherwise. Believe in yourself, even if they don’t.
2. You are only confined by the walls you build yourself.
3. Your mind has the ability to say yes even when your body is saying no.
Cystic Fibrosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.