Every morning and every night, I do what's called chest physiotherapy. The specific CPT I do is called the Vest. The vest is intended to help loosen the thick mucus in my lungs. In addition to the vest, I also exercise 1-2 hours a day 6 days a week. I'm active every day of the week, whether it's through taking Duncan to the park or just a jog, I make it a priority to get some exercise in.
I love exercising, but I don't love running. For cardio, I mostly box and do HIIT. I also lift 6 days of the week.
With CF, unfortunately, exercise isn't really a choice. Conditioning helps to loosen the mucus up, but it also improves cardiovascular function, which in turn can improve lung function by opening the airways. With CF health, there's a lot of luck, but for what part of my good health I am responsible for, I attribute it to my adherence to my therapies and my dedication to being active.
I also exercise for the amazing stress relief it provides. There are definitely circumstances where an intense anti-depressant and anxiolytic regimen is necessary, but for me, boxing and lifting provide my mind a respite. It provides me a sense of control over my disease. I'm a broken record, but finding those strategies to provide a sense of control over CF are some of the most important facets of my life. It's how I find a way to normalize myself. It's how I rebalance my hope and excitement for the future.
When I'm in the gym, I don't feel like my CF is out of my control or a cemented future. I feel like I can combat the decline, and honestly, when I box, I imagine that I'm literally fighting my CF. That's cheesy, but I promise, acting like I can literally beat the hell out of CF is a pretty damn good motivator and stress release. It's definitely hard at times when I'm not feeling well – I actually have a cold right now – but I also believe that pushing myself to get a little sweat in helps to beat colds and infections quicker.
And don't worry, I'm fully aware of how big of a tool I am for this post. I have a lot of work to do, but I'm definitely proud of the work I've put in over the last year and a half (oh, and if you didn't know, I reached Peak Athlete last year when I ran the Flying Pig).