Rehab and Exercises

'One Breath at a Time' Exercise Video for PF


Click image to view ‘One Breath at a Time’ video

The Canadian Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (CPFF) is very excited to announce the release of the first ever exercise video specifically designed for people living with pulmonary fibrosis. The video is available free of charge. Click here or on the image to the right to view it.

The video clearly demonstrates simple but effective exercises that can be done conveniently in and around the home or at your local gym.  Healthcare professionals with expertise in treating people with PF along with Robert Davidson, President of the CPFF explain the benefits of exercise and physical activities.

In addition to viewing the video, please read important information about exercise on this webpage including an Exercise and Pulmonary Fibrosis Guide as well as information about oximeters and the Borg Scale.

Physical fitness is so important to easing PF symptoms such as shortness of breath, excessive tiredness, and mental anxiety. Regular exercise also helps to improve, and maintain a good quality of life,” says CPFF President Robert Davidson. Davidson, a former IPF (idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis) and successful lung transplant patient, advocates for regular physical exercise amongst PF patients and attests to its benefits through first-hand experience.

Regular exercise is an important part of the treatment for pulmonary fibrosis. This video focuses on exercise for those with pulmonary fibrosis to be as fit and active as possible to help improve their quality of life.” Dr. Shane Shapera, Director of the Pulmonary Fibrosis Clinic, Toronto General Hospital, and collaborator in the development of this video.

Because pulmonary fibrosis affects the lungs and inhibits regular respiratory function, many patients shy away from exercise, for fear that it will exacerbate their symptoms, and impair their respiratory function even further.

Exercise can be scary, especially when patients are already struggling to catch their breath,” says Davidson, “but these videos show real PF patients working with an experienced physiotherapist who demonstrates the benefits of regular exercise and clearly describes how to manage breathing difficulties that may arise while being active.

Even the most basic exercise can help to ease symptoms associated with PF and has the benefit of mood boosting effects, which is the most noticeable, and some say, the most valuable of the benefits.

What others are saying about the video
As a person with IPF, I was really excited when I watched this video. I learned that there are exercises I can do at the gym as well as around my home, even in a chair, and that useful exercises for me aren’t just part of a pulmonary rehab program. While, we all know the physical and emotional benefits of exercise, the clear demonstrations and practical tips by experts in this video helped to give me more confidence and drove home the importance of exercise on a regular basis,” says Barbara.

This exercise video is an excellent resource for my pulmonary fibrosis patients.  The common sense approach to exercise displayed in this video helps the patient understand the value of exercise and their ability to participate in an exercise program. This is a resource I will definitely share with my patients.” Pat Steele RN BN RCPT(P) CRE, Chest Clinic Nurse/Technologist, Cape Breton Chest Clinic

This is a great video for patients living with Pulmonary Fibrosis. It is concise and manageable, and can even be used by patients to do at home. I think patients will certainly benefit from it!” Cheryl St.Croix RRT

DVDs available – the exercise video is also available by DVD to those who need it in that format and who send an email request to with their mailing address.
Special thank you to the following who collaborated on the development of this video:

  • Lisa Wickerson, Physiotherapist working in the area of pulmonary rehabilitation
  • Dr. Dimitry Rosenberg, Respirologist and PF researcher
  • Dr. Shane Shapera, Director, IPF Research, Toronto General Hospital

Thank you also to the individuals with pulmonary fibrosis featured in the video:

  • Jacqui
  • Kevin
  • Janet
  • Angelo

Production of this video was made possible through an unrestricted educational grant by Boehringer Ingelheim Canada Ltd.

Exercise and Pulmonary Fibrosis Guide

Do not let what you can't doExercise and keeping active is extremely important in managing your pulmonary fibrosis.  Lisa Wickerson, a physiotherapist at the Toronto General Lung Transplant Program has kindly provided an Exercise and Pulmonary Fibrosis Guide (pdf) that you can use for exercise, especially early in your disease.  Be sure to discuss these guidelines with your doctor to ensure that he/she doesn’t have any concerns about you safely following these exercise suggestions.

Respiratory (Pulmonary) Rehabilitation Programs

Respiratory or Pulmonary Rehabilitation can be a very important part of managing your pulmonary fibrosis. Talk with your doctor about enrolling early in your diagnosis to gain the earliest benefit from the education and activities that you will receive — important information on your disease, breathing, and exercising.

While originally developed for obstructive lung diseases such as COPD and asthma, Respiratory Rehab help all patients with chronic lung diseases including the restrictive diseases such as pulmonary fibrosis.

To find a respiratory rehab program near you, please visit The Lung Association.

Pulse Oxymeter/Oximeter

Being short of breath (SOB) is not necessarily an indication of whether your body is getting sufficient oxygen. SOB is an indication that your lungs are struggling to provide your body with sufficient oxygen.

We recommend that even before being prescribed supplemental oxygen that you purchase and use a finger pulse oxymeter/oximeter, an device that will help you to monitor your blood oxygen saturation and to safely exercise.  An oxymeter is a device that is generally used on a finger that will display both your heart rate and your oxygen saturation.  An oxymeter can be a simple, inexpensive device or a more expensive device that will allow you to track your results on a smartphone.

Borg Scale

Borg ScaleLisa Wickerson recommends using the Borg Scale to make sure that the exercise program is not putting too  much strain on the body and lungs.  She has recommended that breathing should not go above moderate, or at least not too far.  If it does then she advises resting.

Click on the image to the right to view a larger version or click on the link below to open in a new window.

Click here to open the pdf file in a new window.  You can then either print or save it..