A novel consensus statement on the recommended physical activity in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) could aid healthcare workers in guiding their patients toward a better quality of life, according to a study recently published in Chronic Respiratory Disease.

“This international, multidisciplinary group has highlighted the important role of [physical activity] and exercise in the holistic management of CF and provides an evidence-informed and evidence-based summary of the literature that can be used to support important health messages for people with CF and relevant stakeholders,” the authors wrote.

Thirty-nine participants, including healthcare professionals, researchers, and patients from 9 countries and 43 institutions, underwent a virtual conference to collectively produce a set of guidelines regarding physical activity and exercise in individuals with CF, according to evidence-based data and expert opinions.

Of the 30 statements under evaluation, 24 were included in the final document after achieving an agreement rate greater than 80%. The consensus encompassed at least 2 statements about each subtopic: rationale, health benefits, measurements, clinical considerations, prescription, and future directions of physical activity and exercise in this population.

Read more about CF guidelines

Regular exercise is beneficial for individuals with CF. For example, 100% of the participants agreed that exercises with cough or huff improve mucus clearance, while 95% believed that they also increase fitness and are associated with quality of life as a holistic outcome measure.

However, the lack of summarized recommendations described in a single document is likely why physical activity is not usually a focus in consults and follow-ups of patients with this genetic disorder.

“The promotion of physical activity for people with complex medical conditions is not usual, although evidence shows it to be effective in disease management,” Craig Williams, PhD, lead researcher and professor of pediatric physiology and health at the University of Exeter in England, said in a news release.

References

Williams CA, Barker AR, Denford S, et al. The Exeter Activity Unlimited statement on physical activity and exercise for cystic fibrosis: methodology and results of an international, multidisciplinary, evidence-driven expert consensus. Chron Respir Dis. Published online September 6, 2022. doi:10.1177/14799731221121670

Experts unite to provide guidelines on exercise and physical activity in cystic fibrosis. News release. University of Exeter; September 6, 2022.