Cystic fibrosis (CF) patients suffer from infection and inflammation, but exercise has been shown to help enhance quality of life. There are numerous benefits from exercise for overall good health, but more so for those with cystic fibrosis.
Cystic fibrosis is a fatal genetic disease which currently does not have a cure. CF mainly affects the digestive system and the lungs, and its severity and involvement varies from person to person. Over time, cystic fibrosis causes destruction of the lungs, contributing to loss of lung function, which ultimately leads to death.
A study has found that exercise could have anti-inflammatory effects in cystic fibrosis patients. When a healthy person without CF exercises, the immune cells become activated and enhanced. When exercise is completed, the cells go into a tolerizing phase, where there is a reduction in responsiveness in immune cells.
Exercise has been shown to exert anti-inflammatory effects and is associated with a reduction in disease incidence and viral infection susceptibility.
Cystic fibrosis patients have a limited respiratory function due to inflammation and infection – this may limit patient’s ability to exercise. And yet, patients are still encouraged to partake in regular exercise, as it has been shown to help improve CF outcome, along with boosting quality of life and pulmonary function, and improving overall health.
The first step to exercising with cystic fibrosis is choosing an activity that you enjoy so that you stick to it. Furthermore, it’s important to consider if the type of exercise you choose offers cardiovascular or lung benefits and can be completed for longer than 20 minutes. Exercises that speed up your heart rate lead to a stronger heart over time. Exercises that provide resistance increase strength over time.
Where you exercise is also important if you have cystic fibrosis. Don’t perform exercise outdoors on days when it is hot and humid, as breathing can become far more challenging. On days where the temperature is up, stick to the indoors for your exercise session.
It’s also essential that you keep yourself well-hydrated. Minerals and nutrients are lost through sweat, so replenishing them is important.
If you’re unsure about safe and appropriate exercises, speak with your doctor as they can help recommend viable options that suit and fit your needs.
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