All Covid-19 updates and resources can be found here: COVID-19 INFORMATION FOR CF COMMUNITY
Skip To Content
Volunteer Advocate
cf insights cf insights

Top 5 Exercises That Improve Lung Function

Regular exercise can provide several physical and mental health benefits, including improved cardio-respiratory function, improved blood pressure, decreased insulin need and improved glucose tolerance along with reduced stress and many positive psychological benefits. Exercise is especially important if you’re living with cystic fibrosis (CF) because it helps loosen the mucus in the lungs and make airway clearance techniques quicker and easier.

Regular exercise helps the body’s respiratory system run more efficiently and makes the most of its capacity. While exercise isn’t able to substantially increase measures of lung function, such as capacity, people living with CF who exercise regularly have been found to have a slower rate of decline in lung function. Wondering how you can reap the many benefits of exercise? Read on!


  • Whether you simply go swimming or you perform another exercise in water, it will help make your respiratory system more efficient
  • Water will add resistance to your training and compel your body to use your lungs efficiently to supply oxygen to your blood
  • Many local pools offer Aquafit classes, which combine fitness programs and swimming and are a great way to tackle two forms of training at once


  • Running can be an acquired taste for some, but it’s an easy exercise to do as most of us have access to a road or trail and a pair of running shoes
  • On top of the benefits described above, runners have also been found to be happier, better thinkers and have improved hearing


  • If running isn’t your thing, give cycling a go. Riding a bike is a healthy, fun and low-impact form of exercise for all and it’s easy to fit into your daily routine by riding to the store, school or work
  • It can be as intense as you like, from a breezy ride to an tough, hilly workout

Weight training

  • Lifting weights a few times a week improves both your muscle strength, bone density and your cardiovascular function.
  • Improved cardiovascular function will help you in your aerobic exercises such as running or cycling
  • Find a gym buddy to help keep you motivated and entertained during longer workouts


  • Yoga has been found to help children with CF feel more relaxed and breathe easier, benefits which are also applicable to anyone living with CF
  • Talk to your local yoga studio about easy, gentle yoga classes or try it yourself

Regular exercise produces numerous changes that collectively result in the body being able to work in a much healthier way. Regular exercise is not the magic bullet in cystic fibrosis care, but it has been shown to be important in the long term prognosis of CF and it may be one of the best interventions currently available. Talk to your CF care team about your exercise regimen and get out there (but don’t forget to hydrate)!