Research Reports

Back to research reports

Reduced physical activity is associated with work and transport in adults with cystic fibrosis

  • Researchers

    Tshepo M. Rasekaba, Brenda M. Button, John W. Wilson, Anne E. Holland

  • Place of research

    Alfred Hospital and The Northern Hospital, Victoria, Australia

  • Publication

    Journal of Cystic Fibrosis / October 2012

  • Subjects


  • What are the patterns of physical activity in adults with cystic fibrosis (CF) and are they different from the normal population?

  • Why is this important?

    Achieving sufficient levels of physical activity is important to maintain good health and prevent a range of chronic diseases. People with CF are now living longer and are more susceptible to metabolic diseases such as diabetes, where physical activity forms an important part of management. Ensuring sufficient physical activity may also be important to maximise lung health. There has been limited study of routine day to day physical activity in adults living with CF.

  • What did you do?

    Adults with cystic fibrosis completed a questionnaire which asked them about the amount of physical activity they engaged in for work, transport, domestic chores, or leisure in the over the previous week. They recorded the time spent walking, performing moderate or vigorous intensity tasks in any of the four activities above. Physical activity levels in adults with CF were compared to a group of healthy participants without CF.

  • What did you find?

    Overall, adults with CF accumulated less physical activity from day to day tasks than their non-CF peers. Work and transportation emerged as two key areas through which those with CF accumulated significantly less physical activity in comparison to their non-CF peers. The two groups had similar levels of moderate and vigorous physical activity, suggesting that both groups undertake regular, structured exercise programs.

  • What does this mean and reasons for caution?

    Improving engagement in employment and encouraging active methods of getting from place to place may be useful to improve physical activity levels in people with CF. Structured exercise programs will continue to have a role in order to maximise the benefits of physical activity in people with CF. It will be useful to confirm these results using more direct measures of physical activity, such as activity monitors.

  • What's next?

    New treatments to improve physical activity levels during daily life in adults with CF should be explored, and their impact on long-term health and well-being should be evaluated.