Exercise and CF
“If exercise could be purchased in a pill, it would be the single most widely prescribed and beneficial medicine in the nation.” – Robert H. Butler
If only it were that easy!
In general, the human body is adapted to move a lot more than it typically does in modern life. Inactivity has repeatedly been shown to contribute to many serious health problems, such as hypertension and obesity, and the situation just seems to get worse as life becomes more “convenient”. Imagine how much work it was to do laundry in the days before mechanical washers and dryers, for example! We humans, in all our well-meaning ingenuity, have developed a lifestyle where the necessity to move has been minimized to the point of great detriment to our health. Exercise, or “physical activity”, is a simple yet very effective way to combat the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle. If you have not already seen the video “23 ½ Hours”, it is very informative and entertaining; please take 10 minutes to watch the video.
As a person with CF, your risk of heart disease and hypertension is low but physical activity is still an important part of your treatment plan. Research has shown that exercise capacity (i.e. “fitness”) is the best predictor of long term survival in cystic fibrosis. Even people with low levels of lung function can be fit, or get fitter, though it is always easier to maintain fitness than to regain lost fitness. Exercise can help with airway clearance and glycemic control, and is very important in the development and maintenance of healthy bones. You will feel better and live longer. In short, there is seldom a reason NOT to do it.