AlphabExercise: Making exercise fun for young people
So, tell us about AlphabExercise!
Cicely: We thought of silly exercises for every letter of the alphabet and it was just a fun way to get people motivated. It can get boring doing the same activities day after day, so it was just a fun, light-hearted thing to do when people had been stuck at home during lockdown and maybe feeling a bit low.
Amy: It was to encourage children to do exercise without labelling it as that. It’s not exercise, it’s not physio, it’s pretending to be Godzilla or an X-Man or just making a big mess!
Why do you think it is important to make exercise fun for young people with CF?
Cicely: We all have to do our treatments, airway clearance and take tablets… those things are so mundane. Exercise is so important for us, but sometimes when you’re going through the motions it is just not fun. Even though exercise is part of your treatment, it shouldn’t be viewed as that! People without CF enjoy exercise so why shouldn’t we have fun with it too?
Amy: It has always been ingrained in my head that exercise is really important and that we have to be really serious about it… that used to really put me off! My mum had the idea to do some interactive stuff with me and that took my mind off the fact that exercise was a chore or part of my treatment… then I just did it because it was really fun!
What’s one tip you would give to parents for making exercise fun for young people with CF?
Cicely: Go with what your child wants to do – if they find a passion in something, then let them pursue it! Forcing people to exercise in ways they don’t enjoy isn’t going to be productive. If your child likes a certain sport or activity, then let them go for it!
Amy: Make it into a family thing so it isn’t just the child with CF who has to do it on their own. You can do interactive games, get everyone involved and enjoy it together!
What would you say to someone who was considering joining YAG?
Cicely: Do it! We’re a really friendly bunch! We all either have CF or have some personal connection to CF, so we all understand what each other is going through. I was really anxious when I started, but it is such a nice group of people and there is no pressure to say anything or to be a certain way.
Amy: Just join and see how you feel! It has made me think about how I can help people who are younger than me to get the best out of life – can my experience help them in some way? It’s also great to speak to other people with CF about what they are doing and hear their perspectives and opinions too.
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetic condition which causes sticky mucus to build up in the lungs and digestive system. It affects more than 10,800 people in the UK. One in 25 of us carries the faulty gene that causes it, usually without knowing.
Cystic Fibrosis Trust provides lots of great resources on all aspects of life with CF. Along with the medical advice you receive from your CF team, our information can help you make informed decisions about your lifestyle, treatment and care, however you’re affected by cystic fibrosis. All our information is written and reviewed by experienced information and health professionals.