My Thoughts on Exercise and CF

My Thoughts on Exercise and CF

It’s hard to understate the benefits of exercise for healthy people, let alone people with CF. According to the Mayo Clinic, some of these benefits include:

  1. It controls weight.
  2. It combats health conditions and diseases.
  3. It improves mood.
  4. It boosts energy.
  5. It promotes better sleep.

All of these are very important in the life of people with CF. Arguably, the only one that isn’t as important as the others is controlling weight. Because people with CF often struggle with weight gain, losing weight could be a detriment. So, this is definitely something to consider with too much physical exercise.

(Courtesy of Tré LaRosa)

I love exercising. I have been active for as long as I can remember. My history with exercise is actually a bit different than most others. I’m a rarity in the CF world: I have severe pancreatic insufficiency, yet somehow I have no issue gaining weight whatsoever. In fact, I’m one of those people who jokes about gaining weight from just looking at food. For most people with CF, this would be a luxury. But I was a chubby kid (more on this story later).

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I recognize that exercise isn’t enjoyable for everyone, but it’s definitely beneficial. I firmly believe that it is critical for everyone to find an exercise regimen that works for them. With CF, we may have to maximize our time exercising to ensure we are being the most efficient. That’s especially true for people who don’t enjoy exercise or do it as a hobby.

Personally, I most enjoy lifting, short runs, and playing basketball or racquetball. My favorite exercise, however, is probably boxing. I bought a pair of boxing gloves when I was a senior in high school because my local gym had a heavy bag. I thought it’d be a fun way to do some cardio.

Turns out, it became much more than that. Boxing has become my go-to stress reliever and mood booster. It’s physical, so it gets my heart rate up, but it’s also the inanimate personification of CF. I genuinely imagine I’m “fighting” CF (even though I don’t love the “fighter” analogy in all cases). This has become an integral part of my care plan. Not everyone has that, but I think finding a workout regimen is within reach.

(Courtesy of Tré LaRosa)

Last year, when I was exploring the internet trying to find studies linked to exercise and CF (I was specifically looking for what type of exercise is best), I stumbled upon the Cystic Fibrosis Fitness Institute. After finding this site, I directly reached out to the founder, Taylor Lewis.

I’ve spoken with Taylor at length over the last year. He is committed to improving CF health through evidence-based workout programs. He’s intelligent in what he does and deeply invested and interested in always learning more so he can better cater his system for CF patients. I enjoy talking to him about CF, exercise, and more.

My hope is that eventually people with CF are prescribed workout regimens that are deemed best for them by their care team, and I believe Taylor is already leading the charge in making this a reality. I encourage you to explore the site and maybe reach out to him. I’m sure he’d love to hear from people.

So, what are some of your favorite exercises? What do you particularly dislike? I’d love to hear some of your thoughts on exercise.

Follow along with my other writings on my humbly named site, www.trelarosa.com.

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Note: 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. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cystic Fibrosis News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to cystic fibrosis.