My previous blooooog, ENCOURAGEMENT FOR A CF PARENT set a new record for the most views. As a matter of fact, I’m STILL getting views for it. Trust me, this was not because of my eloquent use of keystrokes. This was because it excited people to hear 16 unique perspectives from other people with CF who claim that exercise has helped them. The main theme I wanted to communicate to parents for their kids, as well as to anyone with CF, is that “exercise works.” It was a very broad idea. Now I want to get more specific and share HOW you can make exercise work. Consider this part 2 to my previous bloooog.
The key here is not that you exercise, but rather how you exercise. I want to share with you three components that I believe will make exercise work: consistency, intensity, and synergy. I believe these three things will work because they have brought me to where I am today (100% lung function at 38 years old). Please bear with me as I elaborate:
- CONSISTENCY – Everything has to start here. I’m afraid that some people out there will say, “I tried going out and doing X or Y or Z a few times a couple of years ago and it never did nothing for my lungs, so I quit trying.” Getting your lungs to improve drastically is not going to happen overnight, or over a few weeks, or even over a few years. It’s going to take time. Fitness is not something you just sprinkle on to your schedule. Fitness is a lifestyle. Consistency is where it begins and this is the foundation that all other things are built upon. Without a foundation, the house crumbles and falls. If you want your lungs to get healthier, you need to build a foundation of consistency. This doesn’t mean that you don’t take rest days, or that things happen and you take a week off. You may get sick, you may get injured, etc. Stuff happens, but overall you need to be able to look at your life and see that fitness and health is who you are. If you need help on where to start, I would suggest hiring a trainer or someone you know who knows this stuff to get you going and learn as much as you can. If you’re not self-motivated, then find a gym buddy to keep you accountable. Make exercise a priority. Find the time in your day that you will workout and commit to it. If you’re a beginner, commit to three days per week. Over time you may feel that you want to commit to more days per week. If that happens, commit to four or five days per week. Again, let that consistency build.
- INTENSITY – Without consistency, intensity doesn’t mean a thing. When you are consistent in your workouts, you will someday reach a point where you will want to start to challenge yourself. You’ll want to begin to set goals…maybe a distance goal or a personal time goal or a weightlifting personal best. You’re going to want to work a little harder, swim a little further (further or farther?), run a little faster, deadlift a little heavier, etc. Why do I think intensity helps with CF? Simple. I believe intensity makes you breathe more heavily and more deeply. That heavy and deep breathing will do more than the vest will ever do. There are breathing techniques in weightlifting, swimming, running, boxing, etc., that forces you to really work your lungs like nothing else. The more you challenge yourself, the better it is for your lungs. One of the best things that I’ve found for my lungs is the training mask. I sometimes use it when I run or when I do a LISS workout, and it does more than the vest or even an aerosol can do. I explain that more in detail in my blooooog, THE TRAINING MASK.
- SYNERGY – Why Synergy? Well….I needed a word that ended in “Y.” Plus, the definition fits for what I’m about to say. Synergy means, “the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.” What I’m trying to say is that exercise only one part of the equation. There are two more “organizations,” or “substances,” or “agents” that work with exercise to produce a combined effect of beating CF. These two “agents” are medicine and healthy eating. You can be consistent with exercise and you can even build on that foundation with intensity, and you can do pretty well. The only way to take the fight to CF and to finally go on the offense is to combine exercise with healthy eating and your meds. It’s important to eat healthy because it keeps your lungs clear and it fuels your body for your workouts and for your recovery from your workouts. Drinking water is one of the best things you can do not only for your cells and your body, but for your lungs. One thing I’ve had the doc tell me is that “it doesn’t matter what you eat…it’s caloriescaloriescaloriescalories…….just get those calories in.” Oh, do I beg to differ. Not only do I feel better when I eat healthy, but I have NEVER had a problem getting my calories in when I eat healthy….and I require around 3500 calories per day. If you want to feel better, eat and drink better. Now that exercise and nutrition are mixed together, add your meds to this and you have a strong offense. Everyone has different mutations with CF, so everyone takes different combinations of medicines. Some meds are inhaled aerosols and some are in the form of a pill called “Orkambi.” I am not eligible for Orkambi, but I take Pulmozyne, Albuterol, and sometimes Hypertonic Saline (salt water) aerosols. The Albuterol makes me feel like I’ve been hit by a truck, but it’s very effective when coupled with Pulmozyne. I’ve been doing these three aerosols for yyyyeeeeeaaaaaarrrrrrssssssss. To this day, they are doing their job well.
These three components have kept me out of the hospital for 26 years. Any of these three components on their own are not enough to fight CF, but if they are all working together as a unit, you can mount an offense against CF so well that it won’t know what hit it.
*On a totally different note: My current view count for my site is 2,319…….so i just want to say……….”2319!!! WE HAVE A 2319!!!!”
That is all. Please like, share, subscribe, prescribe, describe, inscribe, ascribe, unsubscribe, resubscribe, become a scribe, and……..
Until next time,