Physical Activity and Pulmonary Fibrosis | American Lung Association

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Physical Activity and Pulmonary Fibrosis

older couple exercising at gym

Staying physically active is one of the most important things you can do to maintain a good quality of life. It not only helps you physically, it can relieve your stress and improve your self-esteem. It can be challenging for PF patients to work up the confidence to exercise. It seems counterintuitive to exercise if you have shortness of breath. However, physical activity can make your body stronger so you become less short of breath doing everyday activities.

Tips for Staying Active with PF

  • Enroll in a pulmonary rehabilitation program. Pulmonary rehab is a program of exercise, education and support to help you learn to breathe and get stronger. Some activities often done in pulmonary rehab include walking on a treadmill, riding a stationary bike, stretching and light weight training.
  • Use your oxygen. Many patients find that using oxygen when they exercise is a game changer. They can be more active with less worry.
  • Be active every day. This might be as simple as walking to get the mail. It can be tempting to spend most of your day sitting when you are feeling fatigued and breathless. Leave time for rest but also try and push yourself to move around as much as possible.
  • Breathing exercises such as belly breathing and pursed lip breathing can help your lungs be more efficient. 

Benefits of Exercise for PF Patients

  • Weight control
  • Improved energy
  • Reduced stress
  • Better sleep
  • Strengthens heart and muscles which helps you get more oxygen into your bloodstream
  • Improved mood
  • A sense of achievement
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Take Action

Get started by talking to your doctor about pulmonary rehab and learn what exercises you can do at home.


    Reviewed and approved by the American Lung Association Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel. Last reviewed February 5, 2018.

    Page Last Updated: March 14, 2019

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