Staying Active & Eating Well

People with IPF often limit their physical activities in an attempt to avoid fatigue, “breathlessness” and panic attacks.

This inactivity may weaken your muscles, making daily activities more difficult.

Regular exercise can strengthen muscles which can help you perform tasks more efficiently, as less oxygen is needed for the same amount of work and it can also give you more energy.

  • Pulmonary rehabilitation allows for observation during exercise and can be tailored to your ability and needs

Good nutrition is essential to healthy living. A healthy diet includes a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains as well as lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, etc.

  • Eating smaller, more frequent meals may relieve stomach fullness, which can make it harder to breathe
  • Avoiding strong cooking smells can prevent distressing coughing fits
  • If you need help with your diet, ask your doctor to arrange for a dietitian to work with you

Avoiding environmental irritations like cigarette smoke, can prevent further damage to your lungs.

If you are still smoking, the most important thing you can do is to stop. Due to the addictive nature of tobacco, this can be difficult.

  • Seek the help of your physician for assistance
  • Ask your family and friends to refrain from smoking around you as well, as second-­hand smoke can be just as harmful


Practice relaxation techniques and pace yourself.

When you are physically and emotionally relaxed, you avoid excessive oxygen consumption caused by tension of overworked muscles.

Additionally, learning relaxation techniques can help you manage the feelings of panic that often accompany shortness of breath.