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British Lung Foundation
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Assessment of fitness level with bronchiectasis

Hi. I have moderate bronchiectasis since birth. I am now 43. It has been stable over the years with weekly antibiotics, twice daily lung clearance and twice weekly exercise. I also work full time and am on my feet half the day in a busy job. My question is, how do I get assessed on how fit I am? Whenever I ask my health care professionals, they always say to exercise to my level. However, whenever i push my exercise levels up a notch, i get knackered and I just want to get fitter!

13 Replies


I was told to enjoy rather than turn into a endurance test.

I am to start my 6 weeks PR August

They are going to sort me a exercise regime to suit. I use a exercise bike and dumb bells, 1 kg. 1.5 kg. 2 kg

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Thanks Stone for the rapid reply. Is PR, pulmonary rehab? I have never been offered this as an option. Maybe I need to ask about my suitability for PR

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Ask your GP


Firstly welcome Lung-girl. You may well find that your fitness level currently is above that of the usual pulmonary rehab course but it would do no harm to find out from your G.P. or consultant whether or not you would be suitable. Apart from exercise they do very good informational talks about a range of topics that can greatly help. Good luck.


I hope you don't mind me asking, but how do you clear your lungs? You mention doing that twice a day.

Sorry I can't answer your question, but it's lovely to meet you. I'm three years older than you and have had asthma since about age 3, possibly from birth.



Postural drainage by lying on approx 4 pillows. 3 under hips and one under shoulders. Lie sideways each side. Do cyclic breathing and then big cough. Does not always clear everything, but find that I clear secretions better within an hour. Also it is VERY important to drink plenty of non caffeinated fluids throughout the day to thin secretions. There are various booklets and websites you can view. The Cystic Fibrosis trust did a very good booklet years ago. Assume booklet is still available. All the best


Hi there, a warm welcome to the site.

re PR (Pulmonary Rehab) it's brilliant! I've just done 2 weeks of 6. I've learnt so much. I'd originally thought I wouldn't get on it for 'not being ill enough' but they've made me very welcome. They teach you to push up to and beyond your limits at your own pace.

The class is made up of various levels, approx 6 of us and 2 are on oxygen. Between 2 - 4 physios take the class.

You will probably fine the exercises simplistic to begin with but the physios will help and support you.They seem dedicated to get you as strong as poss to combat your condition.

I cant believe the difference it's made in after only 2 weeks (I used to be super fit but in last 3 years of sitting about with no energy I was a pathetic wreck of my former self).

Before, after doing a (seemingly major) event - ie a couple of appointments, a long drive, visitors,I'dbe knackered the next day & spend most of it on the sofa.

Now, already I've more energy, my brain is working again and I feel happier.

Cannot believe I've already worked up to a gentle 3 minute jog ( thought I was going to have a heart attack but the physios were at hand to teach me to breath through it.

They are very very supportive. At the end of a session there is usually a talk and I've learned a lot.

Give it a go, nothing to loose, everything to gain. Good luck, PeeG


Thanks PeeG. Oh it would be lovely to run! Never been able to do so hence never popular at sports in school! Will be great to run without thinking I am going to keel over from asphyxiation!


Hullo lung-girl, I am a lot older than you and followed your post with interest. I have been chesty and prone to chest infections for years. I asked for PR course to keep what mobility I had, and to keep my independence. I m having an assessment for years. So I am having an assessment tomorrow - feel a tad nervous.

I wish you all the luck in improving your health. Nice you came into this forum, especially during the new makeover. You must have seen the comments. People worry because it is such a friendly site. They want to keep it that way. Love Annie xx


Hi Lung girl and welcome.

Like you I have had bronchiectasis since babyhood also have to do lung clearance - pd with percussion and also use saline either 0.9% or hypertonic 7% and I also use the acapella.

PR is very much geared up to copd re the talks but I found the exercise very helpful - although knackering at the time, felt generally fitter. Neither my consultant or GP mentioned PR to me (maybe because I have bronch) but thought it a good idea once I had asked for a referral. Don't have to tell you I am sure just how proactive you have to be and your own advocate with bronch, as you have lived with it for a long time.

Good luck to you hun and hope it works well for you.

Love cx


Thanks everyone for all your responses and support! It is very heartening to hear from all of you. I have my 6 monthly check up next week and will speak with my Consultant regarding PR and anything else to help my bronchiectasis. Having had a manic 2013 so far ( wedding planning, 5 weeks of Strep Pneumoniae resulting in 4 courses of antibiotics and Pneumonia vaccinations) I now feel I need to focus rather belatedly on the 40% lung function that I have left. I will be back with an update post hospital appointment. Lung girl x PS please excuse the medical misspellings!


Dear all, realise that it is now 3 months since my last update. Apologises for the late reply but life - work, housework, writing 60 thank you cards to wedding presents, piano practice, Pilates, swimming, socialising, going through reorganisation at work (that is a topic best left alone!) and oh all my stuff for my chest physio, has got in the way, and I have not had a chance to reply!

Anyway, saw my respiratory consultant and he nearly choked when I mentioned pulmonary rehab! He said despite my ling function, I am fitter than the majority of his bronchiectasis patients and that I would be putting myself at risk of further chest infections if I joined a group. Therefore, just got back into my exercise with a vengeance and have booked an appointment to see my respiratory physio to look at developments in lung clearance techniques. Seeing her end November! Will be doing some research prior to the appointment, but if anyone has any more information on clearing one's lungs, all comments welcome! Thanks lung girl


Ask your GP to refer you to a PULMARY rehab course ,,,or ,,, Go to your local leasure centre and ask for a fitness plan with a trainer , and I use a flutter device to help with my twice daily chest clearance ,

,good luck ,


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