Exercise for Interstitial Lung Disease (including Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis and Sarcoidosis)

Interstitial lung disease is an umbrella term for a group of conditions that affect the interstitium, which is the tissue and space around the air sacs of the lungs. These conditions are associated with shortness of breath and reduced physical capacity, which can lead to inactivity and deconditioning.

Together with appropriate medical management, exercise programs can play a role to reduce the symptoms of interstitial lung disease and improve a person’s fitness and health.

What are the benefits of exercise in patients with Interstitial Lung Disease?

There have been many studies demonstrating the benefits of exercise in patients with interstitial lung disease. These benefits occur mainly through adaptations in the musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems that in turn reduce stress on the pulmonary system. The benefits include:
• Reduced shortness of breath and fatigue
• Increased aerobic/cardiovascular fitness
• Increased tolerance of physical activity
• Increased muscle size and strength
• Increased pulmonary minute ventilation (the amount of air a person’s lungs can process in 1 minute).
• Increased bone strength
• Improved mental wellbeing

Is exercise safe if I have Interstitial Lung Disease?

For most people living with Interstitial Lung Disease, exercise is a safe and effective form or treatment. There are some specific considerations when prescribing an exercise program and it is recommended you consult with an exercise physiologist to find out what is the most appropriate prescription for you. An exercise physiologist will be able to perform exercise testing to assess your current capacity for physical activity and provide a specific exercise program that suits your situation.

What type of exercise is best for patients with Interstitial Lung Disease?

In general, an exercise program consisting of both aerobic and resistance exercise achieves the greatest outcomes. The specific prescription of exercise is based on the findings of an assessment performed by an exercise physiologist and is individual to each patient. General exercise recommendations include:
• 20-60 minutes of aerobic exercise most days per week, with exercise intensities based on dyspnoea scales (measures of shortness of breath) and measurements of oxygen saturation in the blood.
• 20-30 minutes of resistance training (strength exercise) with weights, resistance bands or bodyweight on at least two days per week.

Our Exercise Physiologists at Glebe Physio are professionals who are trained in the safe and effective prescription of exercise for people with conditions such as interstitial lung disease.

At Glebe Physio, we offer one-on-one appointments to individually assess your situation and tailor an exercise program for you, as well as fully supervised classes for those who enjoy exercising in a group environment.

If you would like to ask a question about our services or anything else, visit our Contact Us page to get in touch.

If you are ready to make an appointment, visit our make a booking page and get started today.

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For more, visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.

If you would like to ask a question about our services or anything else, visit our Contact Us page to get in touch.

If you are ready to make an appointment, visit our make a booking page and let us help you with your fitness or recovery.

Please note that the information we provide on web pages like this one are for general information and educational purposes. We recommend speaking to a qualified physiotherapist or exercise physiologist to assess your individual situation.