Find out about the different types of exercise that can help people manage their pulmonary fibrosis.

Key Facts

  • Exercise can benefit both your physical and mental well-being
  • Exercising may seem daunting, but you can start off slow with gentle exercises such as light stretching or short walks
  • Working with your healthcare team and setting realistic goals can be good ways to start doing more exercise

Drug treatment alone will not be enough to manage all of the physical and psychological challenges that come with pulmonary fibrosis. Exercise is a key part of maintaining physical and mental well-being and can help you to manage your pulmonary fibrosis and be more active. Exercise can also improve your overall quality of life. There are lots of ways to stay active such as walking, strength exercises and taking part in hobbies.

Even simple exercises can make a difference

If you are not used to living an active lifestyle, the idea of regular exercise can sometimes seem daunting. However, even simple exercises can make a big difference to your well-being.

At times, it may be difficult to start, but every little bit of effort helps. Try simple, light exercises and aim towards doing between 15-30 minutes a day, such as:

  • Taking walks
  • Gardening
  • Light stretching

You should create an exercise routine that works for your needs. Regular exercise will help you to feel stronger, helping you to perform everyday activities.

Some of the benefits you could gain from exercise are:

Improved strength, endurance, agility and coordination

Increased physical fitness

Reduced shortness of breath

Greater mobility and quality of life

Improved mental well-being

Quick Tip

The benefits of exercise will only last if you keep exercising regularly (e.g., 2-3 times per week). Always try to continue exercising when you can to maintain the benefits you have gained.

Simple tips to add exercise to your daily life

The benefits of exercise will help both your mental and physical well-being. However, it can be hard to know where to start.

Below are some quick tips to help you begin exercising:

  1. Speak to your healthcare team before you start any demanding exercise regimes. Together, you and your healthcare team can decide the most suitable exercise for you.
  2. Include exercise in your daily life. Trust your body and try to move more during your everyday activities, like walking, cleaning or gardening.
  3. Don’t try to do too much. Choose a small goal first, such as something that needs a little more effort, like climbing a flight of stairs or going shopping on foot.
  4. Divide your exercise goal into short stages. If you complete one of them, that’s already a small victory, which could motivate you to try the next one.
  5. Keep a diary of your exercise and activities, so that you have a personal record to discuss with your healthcare team.
  6. If you don’t know where to start, speak to your healthcare team. They will be able to recommend exercise options you can do by yourself or in a group.

Many people with pulmonary fibrosis will be offered a pulmonary rehabilitation program. This includes educational training about pulmonary fibrosis, as well as supporting exercises that may be performed in a group.

“I try to get out as much as I can. It's quite difficult for me right now to try exertion, but I can usually stroll up to the front, or if there's any little things to do around the place, take the garbage out, or take the compost down to the compost piles, or any little chores, I can do that.”
– Clifford, BC (@ 11 years post-diagnosis)*

* Name has been changed for privacy.

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Mental Well-Being:

Maintaining your mental well-being can go a long way to helping you prepare for the challenges of living with pulmonary fibrosis. Find out more here.