The official blog of the Lung Institute.
For people living with pulmonary fibrosis, simple tasks, such as taking a shower, walking around the house and cooking a meal, can be challenging. Pulmonary fibrosis causes shortness of breath, fatigue, coughing and weakness. A type of interstitial lung disease, pulmonary fibrosis is a disease that scars the lungs, causing the intricate pulmonary passageways to thicken and harden. Pulmonary scarring obstructs the free passage of oxygen through the walls of the lungs’ tiny air sacs (alveoli) into the bloodstream. Because pulmonary fibrosis makes breathing difficult, many people find staying active difficult. Here are a few pulmonary fibrosis exercise tips that you may not have thought to try until now.
Pulmonary Fibrosis and Pulmonary Rehabilitation
Pulmonary fibrosis is a progressive disease, meaning it will worsen over time. However, there are steps you can take to manage your symptoms. Your doctor may refer you to pulmonary rehabilitation depending on your pulmonary function test results. Many people with pulmonary fibrosis benefit from pulmonary rehabilitation.
Pulmonary rehabilitation is a program that combines exercise, education and support to teach people how to breathe and function at the highest level possible. You’ll work with a team of specialists, nurses and doctors, who will help you work to improve your physical condition and learn how to manage your pulmonary fibrosis, so you can remain healthy and active.
Your pulmonary rehabilitation team will create an individualized plan to fit your needs and abilities, including physical and breathing exercises, lifestyle habits and pulmonary fibrosis exercise tips you can continue at home.
Pulmonary Fibrosis Exercise Tips
During pulmonary rehabilitation, you will learn techniques for safe and effective exercise, and your medical team may advise you to stay active at home. To help you stay as active and healthy as possible, we’ve put together a few different types of pulmonary fibrosis exercise tips:
1. Stay in Shape:
Use the tools, techniques and exercises you learned during pulmonary rehabilitation to your advantage to continue strengthening your lungs and yourself. Gentle exercises such as chair yoga, Tai Chi and walking are excellent forms of exercise that don’t put too much strain on you or your lungs. Start slow and increase exercise under the supervision of your doctor. If you begin to feel very short of breath or uncomfortable, take a break and let your doctor know.
2. Eat Well:
Put good nutrition at the top of your pulmonary fibrosis exercise tips list. Eating a balanced, healthy diet full of vitamins and minerals can provide the energy you need to stay active. If you have food allergies or food intolerances, talk to your doctor or dietitian about foods you can eat that will help you receive the vital nutrients you need.
3. Get Plenty of Rest:
People with pulmonary fibrosis typically may experience severe fatigue, so get plenty of sleep at night and enough rest during the day. Resting boosts your immune system and gives you the energy to remain active.
4. Practice Relaxation Techniques:
Living with the symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis can cause anxiety, especially the symptom of breathlessness. Some people find it helpful to join a support group and to learn relaxation techniques. Writing in a journal, having quiet time and listening to calming music are all effective relaxation techniques. If you’re exercising and begin to feel short of breath, relaxation techniques can help you reduce anxiety, so you can continue to exercise.
Take Care of Pulmonary Fibrosis and You
We hope these pulmonary fibrosis exercise tips help you stay as active and healthy as possible. While there isn’t a cure for pulmonary fibrosis, there are treatment options to help people improve their quality of life and breathe more easily. You and your doctor will work together to develop the best pulmonary fibrosis treatment plan for you. Your plan may include medications, inhalers, pulmonary rehabilitation, oxygen therapy and more.
For some people, stem cell therapy has helped them feel better, improved their quality of life and helped them become more active. In fact, some people have been able to reduce their oxygen therapy use under the supervision of their doctor. If you or a loved one has pulmonary fibrosis, interstitial lung disease or another chronic lung disease and would like to learn more about stem cell treatment options, contact us at (800) 729-3065.