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Exercise advice for teenagers with cystic fibrosis

12 to 19 year olds with cystic fibrosis should do at least 30 to 60mins of moderate to vigorous exercise daily.

Resistance training should be done 2 to 3 times a week, including exercises for your arm, leg and tummy muscles.

What counts as moderate activity?

When you are working at a moderate intensity you should feel that you 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
  • riding a scooter
  • skateboarding and rollerblading
  • cycling on level ground

What counts as vigorous activity?

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

Examples of vigorous activity include:

  • dancing
  • swimming
  • running
  • gym activities such as treadmill, cross trainer, rowing machine, exercise bike
  • gymnastics
  • team sports such as football, rugby, basketball, hockey, netball and so on
  • martial arts
  • cycling fast or including hills

The above activities help improve muscle and bone strength. You should also try to include other activities such as yoga or pilates, and also weight training exercises.

Sometimes you can combine vigorous activity with airway clearance. Please ask your physiotherapist how to do this.

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

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.

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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: CF25

Resource Type: Article

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Elaine Edwards


Western Bank
S10 2TH

United Kingdom

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