Why prescribe exercise in bronchiectasis
The purpose of exercise training in bronchiectasis is to improve exercise tolerance, reduce symptoms of dyspnoea and fatigue and improve quality of life. For some individuals, exercise may also assist in clearing secretions.
There is moderate quality evidence that when undertaken as part of pulmonary rehabilitation or exercise training, this mode of training improves exercise capacity and quality of life (Newall et al 2008, Mandal et al 2012, Lee et al 2014, Lee et al 2017), with reduced dyspnoea and fatigue also reported. When combined with airway clearance therapy, improvement in cough-related quality of life is achieved (Mandal et al 2002).
The minimal requirements for exercise training, for individuals with bronchiectasis, is 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity, 3 times per week (consistent with general health recommendations).
For individuals who are already active, the physiotherapist may check their current exercise program, and review frequency, intensity and duration and provide advice for types of exercise or a variation in routine.
A thorough assessment is required, by a health professional with experience in this area, before a training program can commence.