A hobby is an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation. Your hobby doesn’t necessarily have to have a practical purpose. A hobby is simply something that you like to do.
When you engage in a hobby that you enjoy the likelihood of you being able to disconnect from the everyday worries and recharge your batteries, increases. If you feel that your disease takes too much space in your mind a hobby can be a great way to distract yourself and remove your focus from pulmonary alveolar proteinosis (PAP) to something that makes you happy.
Studies show that engaging in hobbies – especially creative ones – can make people more productive and creative. At the same time, hobbies can have an almost therapeutic effect on our well-being leaving you less stressful, more energised and happier.
Former prime minister of UK, Sir Winston Churchill, was a big fan of hobbies and once said: “To be really happy and really safe, one ought to have at least two or three hobbies, and they must all be real.”
As a person living with PAP you may experience that you cannot do everything you love to do. Breathing difficulties can take up a lot of your energy and limit your physical abilities. However, think of your possibilities and focus on all the things that you can do. For example:
Physical activity improves your health, prevents many diseases and gives you greater wellbeing and quality of life. That is why it is important to stay active – also if you have trouble breathing.
However, being active does not necessarily mean that you need to get your heart racing. It is more a matter of using your body to the extent that it allows you to. All activity that does not make you feel bad is possible for you to do – also when you have PAP. As long as you listen to your body when exercising and maintain a realistic perspective on what you are capable of. In short, exercise in a speed that is appropriate for your health.
Activity keeps your body strong. And a strong body makes it easier for you to breathe. Your lungs are only a part of the system that disperses the oxygen in your body. Another just as important function is the blood’s transport of oxygen to the muscles and organs. Weak muscles make poor use of the oxygen, so when you strengthen your muscles you will need less energy to breathe.
You may be thinking that you are not capable of strengthening your muscles. However, you do not have to go to the gym, play tennis or do a marathon to strengthen your muscles. Less will do the trick as even small movements are good for your muscles.
So staying active can also be doing one of the following things:
Remember that you can also exercise your breathing. Which exercises that will benefit you the most depend on how much PAP affects your breathing.
On the internet you can find many examples of breathing exercises. You can also do different kinds of sports that train your breathing. In yoga and pilates, for example, breathing is an important part of the exercises. And singing is actually good for your lungs. So maybe it is time for you to attend the local choir or musical theatre?
Especially if you are using oxygen you should ask your doctor what would be good exercise for you.