Simple exercise improves lung function in children with cystic fibrosis

A small Johns Hopkins Children's Center study of children and teens with cystic fibrosis (CF) shows that simple exercise, individually tailored to each patient's preference and lifestyle, can help improve lung function and overall fitness.

Frequent lung infections, breathing problems and decreased lung function are the hallmark symptoms of CF, a genetic disorder marked by a disruption in the body's ability to transport chloride in and out of cells that leads to the buildup of thick mucus in the lungs and other organs.

Because rigidly structured high-intensity exercise routines are hard to sustain over time, the Johns Hopkins team designed exercise regimens that fit easily into each patient's daily life. The researchers asked 58 children with CF, ages 6 to 16, to describe their daily routine and preferred physical activities. Based on their answers, the patients received individual exercise recommendations, including going for a stroll, taking a dance class, playing basketball in the driveway or playing with a Wii.

Researchers compared the patients' lung function and exercise tolerance before and after the two-month program. The exercise tolerance test consisted of walking multiple 10-meter (roughly
33 feet) intervals. After completing the , patients were able to perform seven more 10-meter walking intervals, on average, than they were before completing the exercise regimen.

All children showed small bumps in pulmonary function tests, but children who increased their by 10 or more walking intervals showed even more noticeable improvement (5 percent or more) in lung function scores.

On average, patients also reported improved self-image, the researchers say.

Patients with CF follow complex including daily medication, breathing exercises and therapy with special devices to help break up mucus in their lungs. While the benefits of exercise on overall health are well-known, many pulmonologists have shied away from formally prescribing exercise as part of the treatment plan, the investigators say.

The new Johns Hopkins Children's study may change that. Albeit preliminary, the findings suggest that patient-tailored exercise regimens can be easily incorporated into the treatment plan for patients with CF, the researchers say.

"Exercise, even when informal and unstructured, not only appears to improve lung status in children with CF, but goes a long way toward benefiting their overall health, self-perception and emotional well-being," said lead investigator Shruti Paranjape, M.D., a pediatric pulmonary specialist at Johns Hopkins.

Provided by Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions

not rated yet

Related Stories

Exercise training ups post-transplant functional recovery

Mar 17, 2012

(HealthDay) -- Participation in supervised exercise training for three months following hospital discharge for lung transplantation significantly improves physical functions and cardiovascular morbidity for patients during ...

Recommended for you

Restrictions lifted at British bird flu farm

8 hours ago

Britain on Sunday lifted all restrictions at a duck farm in northern England after last month's outbreak of H5N8 bird flu, the same strain seen in recent cases across Europe.

Recorded Ebola deaths top 7,000

Dec 20, 2014

The worst Ebola outbreak on record has now killed more than 7,000 people, with many of the latest deaths reported in Sierra Leone, the World Health Organization said as United Nations Secretary-General Ban ...

Liberia holds Senate vote amid Ebola fears (Update)

Dec 20, 2014

Health workers manned polling stations across Liberia on Saturday as voters cast their ballots in a twice-delayed Senate election that has been criticized for its potential to spread the deadly Ebola disease.

Evidence-based recs issued for systemic care in psoriasis

Dec 19, 2014

(HealthDay)—For appropriately selected patients with psoriasis, combining biologics with other systemic treatments, including phototherapy, oral medications, or other biologic, may result in greater efficacy ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.