FRIDAY, May 6 (HealthDay News) -- Simple exercise routines can
improve lung function and overall fitness in children and teens
with cystic fibrosis, the results of a small new study suggest.
Cystic fibrosis, or CF, is a genetic disorder that causes a
buildup of thick mucus in the lungs, resulting in frequent lung
infections, breathing problems and decreased lung function.
Highly structured, intense exercise regimens are difficult to
adhere to long-term, so a team of researchers at Johns Hopkins
Children's Center designed simple exercise programs tailored to
patients' preferences and lifestyles.
These activities included things such as going for a walk,
playing basketball in the driveway, taking dancing lessons or
playing with a Wii video game system.
Lung function and exercise tolerance tests were given to 58 CF
patients, aged 6 to 16, before and after they did their exercise
programs for two months. The exercise tolerance test involved
walking as many 10-meter (about 33 feet) intervals as possible.
After completing the exercise programs, the patients were able
to do an average of seven more walking intervals than before they
All of the participants showed at least some improvement in lung
function, but the most noticeable improvement (5 percent or more)
occurred in those who increased their exercise capacity by 10 or
more walking intervals.
The study was slated to be presented Tuesday at the annual
meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies, in Denver.
"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," lead investigator Dr. Shruti Paranjape, a pediatric pulmonary specialist, said in a Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions news release.
Because the findings were presented at a meeting and the study
is not yet published in a peer-reviewed journal, its findings
should be considered preliminary.
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more