British Lung Foundation
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I have IPF and use ambulatory oxygen, though not around the house. I use an exercise bike for simple aerobic work-outs, but would like to use it to strengthen my lungs. Has anyone had any experience with this? How hard should I push myself? Should I be using my oxygen when I do it? My GP only says I should not exceed 120 pulse rate. Any experience would be appreciated.

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20 Replies

You have that advice from your GP and you may even benefit from speaking to BLF helpline but the general guide is that getting comfortably breathless with exercise is a positive thing



Thank You Katlover. That sounds reasonable, since I know what breathless feels like, and can aim to hit that point oiver 20 minutes or so.

good luck, I have been banned from my treadmill as I have a tendon problem from exercise so it is armchair aerobics for me for the time being till my physio lets me walk



Hi. Have you been on a Pulmonary Rehab course? The one I went on used an exercise bike so I should think it's okay. If you haven't been given the option of this course have word with your GP. The course is very informative and gives you ideas for a structured exercise regime.

Good luck.

Thanks Baldie. No I haven't been offered a Rehab course. I'm due for my 6 month check-up next week and will ask about it.

Hi Flatman, I don't have IPF so can't advise you specifically for that condition. I can advise you however as regards your ambulatory oxygen - and yes, you should use it when 'cycling'. It would also be worth your getting a pulse ox if you don't already have one. That way you can keep an eye on both your oxygen saturation and your pulse rate. Other than that, just 'cycle' as you would if you were fit and getting some exercise - the only difference is that you will get breathless and stop much sooner than you used to. It is very difficult to 'overdo it' as whether it is copd or IPF, our shortness of breath stops us long before any possible harm could be done. Don't be afraid to get breathless - just stop so that your breathing and heart rate can steady and then continue when you feel ready.

Auntymary :)

Thank You Auntymery. The different comments coming in are adding up to good advise. I have a a pulse ox, but am not sure if I can trust it because I have an irregular pulse - which is why I was only using the bike aerobically.

Use a bike for stamina and share flatman5 doctors idea on limit of pulse rate as oxygen guards against right side heart damage. I have COPD a different condition where studies have shown that those with most muscle are most likely to live longer because of staying active. Staying active within what is the limit set by the body will have levels for each of us that are different.

Thanks Chiggles, that's really encouraging. First, I need to resolve the issue of pulse measurment with an irregular heart beat....

Thanks Stitch. I'd be really happy to get to that stage.

yes, I saw that too. great news if you are one of the lucky ones whose genetics means that aerobics exercise helps - for some it makes no difference to as the reporter found himself. But everyone will benefit from exercise - muscles, tolerance, reducing odds re diabetes etc.

Using low impact exercise is a part of sarcs as MarieWF will be able to testify with arthralgia being one of the co morbid conditions that will also dictate exercise programs the medical staff will feel comfortable with a patient undertaking.

Thank You LuckyGirl. I'm really overwhelmed by the response to my question. I don't have arthralgia - yet - and frankly it sounds as if I don't want it either.

Katie Peters is the BLF one with all the expert know how on this (with nurses help )

Like everyone else, I can't offer specific advice for you. I do use a bike at the gym, but we all need to tailor our exercise individually.

I'm sorry if I don't have an avatar, but I'm having a bit of a problem with mine at the moment. :(

Lynne xx

Thank You Lynn. Suggestions are coming in at a surprising rate. I have learned so much about my condition and how to live it since joining BLF. Avatars don't matter, and I'm sure you understand why.

Yes I have an exercise cycle and am on ambulatory oxygen also. Although I do use it in the house apart from sitting on the computer, relaxing or watching tv. And yes you will need to use the oxygen at your normal flow whiile you are on the bike to keep you oxygen levels up and protect your organs. I put the pack on the handlebars, get on with kindle in hand, read and pedal away while hooked up to the O2. do not try to go to fast though as you do not want to put unwanted strain on your body. enjoy and yep it is essential that you keep healthy.

Thank You Derrylynne. I've had a very positive response to my question, and will go ahead with the plan

as i have a bad leg and cant use a bike so i use it to do upper excercises and have used it at pulmonery rehab,and now got one for useing at dose me the world of good..but check first..

Thanks Evo. I'm really looking forward to some improvement.

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