Implementing A Body Weight Warm Up Could Help Improve Your Next Respiratory Treatment

Jun 25, 2019 | Blog

          Improving lung function, or decreasing the rate of decline in lung function, is very important when battling a pulmonary condition. Lung function is the body’s ability to breathe air (inspire) into the lungs, pass oxygen through the blood and to the body’s tissue, pull carbon dioxide out and expel it when you breathe out (exhalation). These abilities change when battling a pulmonary condition because of cardiopulmonary and respiratory restrictions within the lungs and circulatory system. This increases the difficulty and makes it harder to breathe at a normal rate. This is where at home respiratory training can become beneficial.

           If you have respiratory restrictions during breathing, you will have muscular restrictions. When your muscles are tight, your posture changes, as your respiratory muscles are also postural muscles. When your body is fighting to continuously increase oxygen to the muscles, the body will primarily focus on getting air into the lungs, rather than using the respiratory muscles for posture and strength. This alteration can cause increased tightness and tone throughout your body. Have you ever woken up from a long nights sleep and felt stiff? We all have, so what do you do? You get up and stretch out a little and move and the tightness starts to subside. This happens because you were sleeping in a few positions for an increased amount of time, causing the body to increase muscle lengthen some areas and increasing tone and tension in other areas. So, when you get up, by moving around your body starts to loosen up and you are able to feel more mobile.

           This is the same thing as performing a warm up before you complete a workout. You do not start a workout with some progressive warm up. You start off slow and get the body moving, increase blood flow, and then start your workout. This same approach can be used for your respiratory treatments. If you integrate exercises that focus on your breathing, ribcage and thoracic expansion integrity, you will progressively warm up the muscles that aid in respiration and posture. When you warm these muscles up and get the body on track for treatment, you will allow the body its full potential to clear mucus and get the most out of your next treatment.

          Remember to think of your respiratory treatment like your workout. Pick 1-3 warm up exercises that focus on ribcage and thoracic mobility and integrate them before your next respiratory treatment. With our clients, we have observed improved mucus clearing, some have felt as if they could get more air into their lungs when they breathe in, and over time they have felt as if they could breathe easier. All the things you are looking for from respiratory treatments.  Of course, everyone is different, so pick the exercises that work best for you.

           Spend 3-5 minutes warming up before your treatment. This may take a few sessions, so allow your body to understand what your trying to do before you change or modify an exercise. Take your time and reassess every couple of weeks.


 Below are some examples of exercises that have worked well for our clients.



                         90 Degree Pec Stretch                                                                                             Staggered Stance Intercostal, Lat. and QL Stretch

                        1-2 sets/20-30 sec hold                                                                                                                     1-2 sets/20-30 sec hold

Ribcage and Thoracic Spine Exercises

                          90/90 Breathing                                                                  Wall Supported Rib Tuck                                                        Quadruped T-Spine Rotations

                             1-2 minutes                                                                              1-3 sets 3-5 breaths                                                                              1-3 sets 4-8 per side                                                                         

For full length videos check out our YouTube Channel: Cystic Fibrosis Fitness Institute

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Intrinsic motivation is something that develops over time. Kids don’t yet have the cognitive abilities to grasp the concept that, “exercising is good for physical and mental health.” The understanding that by “doing something good for your body now, your future self will thank you,” is far too abstract. Kids don’t live for the future, they live for the here and now.

By the time children are in high school and/or go through puberty, those high order thinking cognitive processes begin to develop. However, social obligations and a sense of figuring out one’s own identify often trump the desire to be consistently active for one’s own physical and/or mental health purposes.

Sports certainly help, as they play a role in encouraging healthy competitiveness within oneself and others, as well as promotes team building and social opportunities that child and young adults actively seek out. However, not every kid plays a sport or has the health opportunities to actively participate in one. So, how do we encourage motivating?


There are two types of motivation: intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. Some will say, intrinsic motivation is ideal because it creates long lasting effects on one’s drive and purpose to reach a goal. The definition of intrinsic motivation is, “behavior that is driven by internal rewards.” Extrinsic motivation is the opposite. Extrinsic motivation is defined as, “behavior that is motivated to perform an activity to receive an award or avoid punishment.”


When starting to increase your child’s motivation to exercise, extrinsic motivation is the “easiest” way to go. When young, a child/teen is beginning to develop his/her own sense of motivation and enjoyment from exercising, something that is not going to happen overnight. Fortunately, exercising regularly will naturally contribute to developing intrinsic motivation, as it increases the feel-good happy chemicals in your brain (serotonin, dopamine, endorphins). But, habits do take time, so here are three tips to increase your child’s motivation to exercise!

  1. Reward System

There are often mixed reactions to implementing a reward system. However, a reward system is not something to frown about when working on establishing a foundation for positive behaviors. Research has shown that children respond better to positive reinforcements than they do to negative reinforcements.

How to begin a behavior reinforcement plan:

  • For children ages 7-12: Make a personalized goal tracker with your child. For example, if want your kid to do something physically active 3x a week, create a page with three boxes per week to check off after each workout (e.g., can use stickers, a drawing, a penny, etc.)
  • For children 13 and older: they can often keep rack on their own, and independence is key for teenagers and young adults.
    • Each workout = 1 point.
      • It is up to you to decide how often a reward occurs and what the reward will be.
      • Reward types: with your child’s help, create a list of 5 items/things that might be motivating to earn. For example, 30 minutes of a favorite show, a new toy or “surprise box,” staying up later one night a week, choice of a favorite meal for dinner, a new book, etc. The possibilities are endless!
  1. Social Opportunity

As an adult, performing 15 reps, 4x on one exercise is manageable. Our attention is longer. We enjoy isolation more. We have intrinsic motivation or tangible goals set for ourselves, like losing weight. However, children and young adults are heavily socially dependent with shorter attention spans. Their worlds thrive around social opportunities, So, make physical exercise a social experience. Workout with your child, put on a YouTube video and together and complete 30 minutes. Put on your child’s favorite music on in the background and encourage your child to work out for 20 minutes (set a timer). One time a week (or more) invite a friend or sibling, make it an event that can be done inside or outside, and make it fun.

  1. Bring back Play

Which brings us to our third tip: Bring back play! Even if you have a teenager or young adult, play is important to developing a positive attitude towards physical exercise. Play can consist of hiking with friends or family, trying a new activity in your community, and generally, reducing the strict structure around exercise that children and young adults often try to escape as they build independence and autonomy. A majority of the time, exercising can consist of structured exercises catered around a specific goal, however, a few times a month it’s important to switch it up and encourage exploring of physical exercise through unstructured (play) opportunities.


















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