Elaine on living with IPF and keeping fit


Elaine Ball talks about her life with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and how she stays active during the colder months...

Christmas, the season of goodwill and too many calories generally! I will be indulging in the odd mince pie but, I do so with caution.

I was diagnosed with IPF in 2015 and it came as big shock to me and my family. At the time, I was teaching dance exercise and was, so I though, quite fit. Since then, my condition has seen peaks and troughs with periods pf progression followed by stable periods. One thing for certain, life is easier and more enjoyable by remaining as active as I can be.

Frustration set in along with depression as medication caused a massive weight gain that affected my mobility. I had to do something.

Taking advice, I began by setting simple goals. Lockdown measures were in place and I was isolated so each day was mine to plan.

Small things to many but at that time massive to me, changing the pillowslips, doing a lap pf my apartment as many times as I could manage, clearing a cupboard, sorting out the everything drawer, we all have one of those!

Bit by bit things became easier. It took a major rethink and shift in my mindset. I stopped comparing my current situation to things I could do in the past.

In my spare time, I run a voluntary theatre company with my daughter. The group is for adults who have different abilities due to disability. During lockdown, in an effort to keep the group and myself fit, I held online classes of chair based exercise, tai chi Qigong (which helps with control of the breath) a little dancing and a lot of laughter, having a good laugh sometimes is the best tonic.

If I have a bad day, I just acknowledge it and do as much as I can. Rest is equally important.

I was very surprised to be nominated as a community champion for my part in lockdown and humbled to receive the award. The real reward was the improvement in the group, mental and physical health had generally improved and for my own part, when I finally got to see my consultant face to face, he commented that my readings were the best they had been since I was diagnosed.

In October 2019 I started a support group for APF but as we know Covid disrupted the process, I will relaunch hopefully February 2022 for the Wyre Forest Area.


Of course, I am not a doctor and before you start on any diet or exercise regime, it is vital you speak to your doctor, but think very carefully of what small measures of activity you could do rather than what you cannot do. I made the move of mind which made me move more, and for sure you will find a little goes a long way to better health.

If you need support around living with pulmonary fibrosis, please get in touch.