Outpatient exercise training in children with cystic fibrosis: physiological effects, perceived competence, and acceptability

Pediatr Pulmonol. 1999 Jul;28(1):39-46. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1099-0496(199907)28:1<39::aid-ppul7>3.0.co;2-8.


Exercise training is currently advocated as part of the treatment of patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). However, data are few that document physiologic benefits or changes in patients' perceptions of long-term training programs in children with CF. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects and acceptability of a home cycling program in children with CF. Fourteen patients (9 boys, 5 girls) with CF, mean (SD) age 14.1 (2.0) years, with mild to moderate impairment of lung function (forced expiratory volume in 1 s, mean (SD) 58.3 (16.3)% of predicted) were studied for 1 year. The first half of the study year was used to obtain baseline values at 0 and 6 months. During the second half of the year, a cycle program was carried out 5 times a week, for 20 min each day at a level of work that resulted in a heart rate of 140-160 beats/min. Once a week the cycle program was supervised by a physiotherapist. Measurements were repeated at 12 months. Effects of the exercise program were measured in terms of lung function, nutritional status, growth, muscle strength, exercise performance, perceived competence, and attitude towards the training program. Differences between the changes during the 6-month training period as compared to the 6-month control period were analyzed by multivariate statistics and nonparametric tests. Statistically significant differences (P < 0.05) between the two periods were found with respect to muscle strength of knee extensors and ankle dorsiflexors, and with respect to maximal oxygen consumption per kg body weight as well as per kg fat free mass. All changes were positive. No adverse effects were found. Perceived competence showed significant positive changes in feelings about physical appearance, general self-worth, and Total Perceived Competence Score. Scores concerning perceived acceptability of the program were significantly lower at the end of the training period; however, patients reported that they did want to continue with other sorts of training. We conclude that an exercise training program in the home can produce beneficial effects on oxygen consumption, muscle force, and perceived competence in children with CF. However, acceptability of the program was low, suggesting that long-term adherence would be poor, and hence, other sorts of training need to be identified.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cystic Fibrosis / diagnosis
  • Cystic Fibrosis / rehabilitation*
  • Exercise Test
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Outpatients
  • Patient Compliance
  • Physical Education and Training
  • Physical Fitness / psychology
  • Quality of Life*
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Self Concept
  • Software
  • Statistics, Nonparametric