Get Moving! 5 Ways to Jump-Start Your Workout Routine
Exercise can improve quality of life for everyone, especially for people with cystic fibrosis. In general, exercise can:
- Increase activity tolerance, endurance and strength
- Build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints
- Promote psychological well-being and self-esteem
- Reduce the risk of anxiety and depression
In people with cystic fibrosis, increase in strength and endurance plus decrease in anxiety and depression equal better outcomes. Exercise can also increase sputum production and clearance, and has been said to decrease the rate of decline in lung function.
Sometimes it can be hard to believe that getting moving will make you feel better. And that can make it hard to get started at all. Once you've started, though, the chances are you will want to keep going, and that you'll feel good about it long after you are finished. It is quite easy to tell someone to get moving, but not quite as easy to make a lifestyle change. There will always be a reason you can't get started (such as time, finances, family, health issues), so you will have to try hard to think about why you can and should. The truth is, there are affordable (and even free) and family-friendly ways to incorporate exercise into your routine without taking too much time out of your day.
If you want to begin exercising, start out small and work your way up. Make your goals reasonable and attainable so you can get that first taste of success. Once you get moving, you can increase the frequency and duration at your own pace.
These days there are more ways than ever for adults to exercise. Here are five ideas:
- Take a walk.
You can incorporate this into your daily routine by walking to work, the store, appointments or a friend's house. Choose a parking spot farther away from your destination than usual. Take the stairs rather than the elevator when possible. (If you prefer it to walking, you can also ride a bike to your destination.) Ask a friend to take a walk; having a partner is a great way to stay motivated when committing to a fitness plan. Or make it your time to be alone. With all that you have going on in your life — family, friends, work, school, appointments, treatments — you may need to prescribe yourself some alone time.
- Download an app.
If you have a smartphone and/or a computer, there are many free online programs and apps, such as Couch to 5K, Yoga Builder and Fitness Buddy. These can help you track your progress and stay inspired to keep at it.
- Take a class.
In most areas, you can find a Zumba or yoga class within a few miles.
- Join a team or club.
There are adult sports teams, running groups and biking clubs, and most have members with varying fitness levels. Just as an example, there is a local women's triathlon club where the members' ages range from 17 to 70, and fitness levels range from those who have never done a race of any kind to Iron Man triathletes. Ask around to see if there is anything available in your neighborhood.
- Join a gym.
Check out the local YMCA; they are often affordable, and you may qualify for financial assistance. They offer a variety of activities like group fitness classes, personal training, swimming and an assortment of exercise equipment. Plus it might be a good place to find that group/club you want to join. There are numerous other options if you are looking to join an affordable gym.
As a person with cystic fibrosis, you have things to consider when starting an exercise program that other people may not:
- Talk to your cystic fibrosis doctor before starting an exercise program.
- Exercise tolerance may be an issue; if you are not able to tolerate exercise initially, talk with the CF team to see if pulmonary rehab is an option for you.
- More than other people, you will have to think about and plan for hydration, nutrition and caloric needs. With increased activity comes a need for increased fluid, calorie and salt intake.
- Everyone is different; walking around the block once a day might be the goal for some, while others might be working toward running a 5k.
While it may seem like a daunting task, beginning an exercise program will benefit you physically and mentally. Rarely, if ever, will you hear someone say, "Wow, I really regret that workout!" So go ahead and get moving. You will feel better.
By Diane Taylor, MSW, LSW
The information on these pages is provided for general information only and should not be used for diagnosis or treatment, or as a substitute for consultation with a physician or health care professional. If you have specific questions or concerns about your health, you should consult your health care professional.