By ACCORDANT HEALTH SERVICES
If you have CF, exercise is very good for you. It makes you breathe deeply, which helps move the mucus in your lungs. Exercise makes your breathing muscles stronger. Most everyone with CF should exercise. Even if your CF is severe, you should talk to your doctor about exercise.
Children with CF are as active as other children. But they often do less brisk types of exercise than other children. An exercise is brisk if it makes you sweat and breathe hard. This is true even if their lung function and nutrition are good. Some children may not take part in brisk exercise because they know their parents, teachers, or coaches are concerned about them. This may cause children to doubt their own ability to do strong exercise. Parents, teachers, and health care team members should allow both boys and girls to be as active as possible. They should support brisk exercise because it could actually help children live longer. Girls often have less lung function than boys do, so they may gain even more from brisk exercise.
One study found that teenagers with mild to moderate lung disease could safely raise the time they spent doing brisk exercise. In this study, each teen had an exercise plan that was made just for them. A physical therapist can design a personal exercise program for anyone with CF. The therapist will decide what to include based on the severity of the person's CF, their fitness level, and the kinds of exercise they like to do.
People with CF need two kinds of brisk exercise. They need endurance exercise, such as swimming, running, cycling, or taking aerobics classes. They also need strength training exercise, such as lifting weights, to benefit the upper and lower body.
Many people do not want to start an exercise program. This is very natural and not special to CF. But if exercise can be made fun more people will do it. What interests the person with CF? Make sure that person is involved in deciding what is done and how it is done. Build up slowly.
Replacing Salt, Fluids, and Calories
During brisk exercise, it is easy for people with CF to get dehydrated. Because of CF, you lose more salt than other people when you sweat. To make up for this, replace both salt and fluids when you are active. Drink between 6 and 12 ounces of fluid every 20 to 30 minutes while exercising. Avoid drinks that contain caffeine. They increase fluid loss. Water and sports drinks are better choices. Sports drinks contain both salt and carbohydrates. The extra carbohydrates help keep blood sugar up. There is not enough salt in sports drinks to replace the all the salt you lose during exercise. Salty snacks are needed too. Potato chips and pretzels are good choices. Keep in mind that exercise also burns calories. Do not forget to replace the calories you lose through exercise. An extra snack or two can help.
Exercise and ACTs
No matter what type of ACT (airway clearance technique) you use, exercise can make it more effective. By itself, exercise is not a method of airway clearance. But when exercise is added to another ACT, more mucus is removed from the airways. It also slows down the process that makes lung function get worse over time. This is why exercise is now seen as a way to help manage CF. Exercise is a CF treatment that is also a normal part of many healthy people's lives. Exercising helps adults and children with CF feel that they are just like their friends.
Regular, brisk exercise also:
When Not to Exercise
When you have certain problems, you should not exercise until your doctor says it's OK. But after the problem gets better you should start to exercise again. Times when it is good to put off exercise are:
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Last Modified Date: March 19, 2009 © Accordant Health Services, a CVS/Caremark company. All rights reserved.
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