Bronchiectasis Foundation

Exercising with bronchiectasis

Hi! I am a 26 year old female who was diagnosed December 2016 after a long battle with recurrent infections and a chronic barking cough. I would love to hear how other sufferers manage to keep fit? Whenever I exercise I get a tight, burning chest, the cough gets worse, and I cough up phlegm. I live an otherwise very healthy lifestyle, and hate battling to exercise. One thing I have noticed is that it is far worse in Joburg, where I live (high altitude and dry air) compared to when I visit family in Cape Town (low altitude and more humid air). Wondering if a humidifier will help, at least at home?

5 Replies

Hey Laura I'm Ian age 32 diagnosed only at the age of 25. I have also always found exercise difficult. Its about finding a balance and not over doing it' but that's not easy. I find either the cold winter air or the pollen in the summer makes outdoor exercise more difficult but I'm ok running on a treadmill and boxing. Indoor trampolines are also super for a workout and they also help couch up mucus.


Hi Ian. Thank you for your advice! It's good to know it's not just me being dramatic! I've been keen to get a gym membership but wasn't sure if it would be a waste of money. I never considered that the air being cleaner and temperature controlled would make it easier. Definitely worth a try then!

1 like

I've found singing in a choir has helped me keep my lungs exercised and clearer. I do have to do clearance before and in intervals at concerts but my choir are used to that now. I find I'm able to exercise better when I'm in rehearsals and thus forced to practice/use my lungs fully. I prefer a drier atmosphere personally, humidity makes me sweat and feel like my lungs are full.


I have Bronchiectasis and Asthma, and I do cough quite a bit when I exercise and afterwards. I do tend to use a lot of ventolin, both before and during. I also practice active cycle breathing, (videos you-tube) to help clear mucus, and also butekeyo stop cough method.

At certain times of year I only train indoors, but I really like running, however I can't run if its too hot outside or if its too cold. I have no idea how much of my exercise problems are asthma induced or Bronchiectasis induced.



Hi Lau25 - do you know if you have any allergies? I thought my coughing was brought on by pollen or air pollution before I was diagnosed recently with bronchiectasis. turns out for me it isn't but as you mention you notice a difference then perhaps this might help you manage the coughing and exercise better? I've noticed I have to stop running after the first 500m for a coughing session but then I seem to be OK with a couple of stops every 1-2 km. And at least when exercising the nasty stuff is actually coming out. I also believe for me sea air works better than the damp low valley I live in.


You may also like...