What do you think of when you hear “cystic fibrosis“? Well, if you know what it is, probably nothing good.
If you don’t know about cystic fibrosis and you’ve clicked on the hyperlink to learn more, then I’m picturing you wide-eyed and maybe a little upset.
Finding out about a disease that has no cure, a disease that can restrict breathing, is scary! Not to mention how it affects children… Some do not live to see their 21st birthday.
Cystic fibrosis does affect the lungs in a horrible way. Science has discovered that it is genetic, so parents who are carriers are unknowingly passing this to their children. Cystic fibrosis causes issues with the cells that produce sweat, digestive juices, and mucus. These secretions in a healthy individual are thin and act as lubrication to the body. With cystic fibrosis, these secretions become thick and cause digestion issues along with breathing issues.
Studies show that exercise can help strengthen the lungs in individuals with cystic fibrosis.
Some would think, “Why would a person who can hardly breathe exercise?” One word: endurance. And it does make sense. Unfortunately, people with cystic fibrosis, do spend a lot of time in the hospital due to lung infections, which keeps them off their feet. A person who is physically active has a greater increase of pulmonary function, which is just a fancy way of saying their lungs work better.
So, while exercising might not be the first thing you want to do, starting small may be a good idea—whether it’s going for a short walk or trying some breathing exercises.
Thankfully, the Cystic Fibrosis Life Foundation is around to help individuals living with cystic fibrosis maintain an active lifestyle. They can help pay for gym memberships, race fees, etc. Cool, right?