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Exercise advice for children aged 7 to 12 with cystic fibrosis

Children aged 7 to 12 should do at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity everyday.

Activities should involve exercises that help build up muscle and bone strength.

What counts as moderate activity?

When a child is working at a moderate intensity they should feel that they are breathing harder, but still be able to carry on a conversation.

Examples of moderate activity include:

  • Walking to school
  • Taking the dog for a walk
  • Playing in the playground
  • Riding a scooter
  • Skateboarding and rollerblading
  • Cycling on level ground

What counts as vigorous activity?

When a child is working at a vigorous intensity they should feel that they are breathing harder and if trying to talk they will only be able to say a few words before pausing for a breath.

Examples of vigorous activity include:

  • playing fast running games such as chase, tig and so on
  • dancing
  • swimming
  • running
  • gymnastics
  • team sports such as football, rugby, basketball
  • martial arts
  • cycling fast or including hills

The above activities help improve muscle and bone strength. Other activities to also do include yoga or pilates, swinging on playground equipment such as monkey bars, a prescribed weights routine and so on.

Sometimes you can combine vigorous activity with airway clearance. Please ask your physiotherapist for about this.

Encouraging activity and exercise

This is a key time to build activity into your child’s daily routine, it is important not just to rely on PE lessons at school. Focus on activities that your child enjoys.

Research shows that doing activities as a family or with friends helps to improve motivation and participation in exercise.

Exercise does not have to cost a lot of money, a simple internet search can help give you lots of great ideas.

At annual review you will be asked to give a description of your child’s exercise and activity levels. Giving an honest description lets the team to use this information and your child’s exercise test to give the best and most suitable advice to helping your child.

Please ask the cystic fibrosis physiotherapy team if you would like to arrange a 1:1 session to go through specific activity ideas for your child.

This information resource is a guide only and should be used with specific individual information given to you at your clinic appointments by a physiotherapist.

Other resources

There are only a few examples included in this resource, the list is endless.

A good resource is NHS physical activity guidelines for children.

Is something missing from this resource that you think should be included? Please let us know

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: CF26

Resource Type: Article

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Elaine Edwards


Western Bank
S10 2TH

United Kingdom

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