Airway clearance and improving strength, endurance and physical fitness has always been essential for optimizing lung function in Cystic Fibrosis (CF). People with CF are encouraged to adopt an airway clearance routine early on, from initial diagnosis. This is paralleled with maintaining a physically active lifestyle to improve overall health and quality of life.

Recent research validates previous findings that no one particular form of airway clearance (AC) is superior to another. As such, people with CF are encouraged to use airway clearance techniques (ACTs) that best fit with their preferences, finances, and lifestyle. People with CF often wonder if aerobic exercises (“cardio”) can be performed instead of AC; however, at this time, there is not enough research to support using exercise in lieu of ACTs.

Questions are being raised regarding whether it is still necessary to continue with ACTs in the face of emerging CFTR modulators such as Trikafta, considering the positive effects these medications have on lung function and exercise tolerance. This is a new area of research and still being studied. Having said that, it is still important to maintain your daily AC routine and incorporate exercise into your lifestyle.

Do you have a formal AC routine? If not, you might consider initiating one, and it can be as simple as completing a short set of breathing exercises! Click here Chest Physiotherapy for a variety of options for AC.

Remember: lung optimization is best achieved by combining ACTs with exercise. Though it can be difficult to incorporate all of this into an already full schedule of treatments and therapies, regular exercise will increase your fitness and overall health. It is important to be consistent, gradually build up your tolerance (start with as little as 5 minutes per day), and explore different types of exercise.

Most importantly, remember to have fun with it! For more details on different types of exercise, click here Types of Exercise.