CF & Exercise
Exercise and nutrition go hand in hand, and play an important role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Many CF patients participate in athletics because they may help increase lung function, improve airway clearance, increase strength and endurance, and prevent bone loss.
Aerobic activities, sometimes called cardiovascular exercise, are activities that make your heart beat faster and harder, and can make your heart and lungs stronger. Activities that involve weights or resistance can strengthen muscles and bones. Both aerobic activities and resistance training are important in helping maintain good health.
Balancing the Scale
Though exercise has many positive effects, it is essential that you monitor your nutrition to avoid potential weight loss because of the calorie drain from the activity. There are a number of ways you can make up for the caloric demands of exercise:
- Eat more throughout the day by increasing portion sizes on days when exercise is planned. If the activity is unplanned, you should eat more following the exercise
- Pair exercise with high-calorie snacks such as trail mix, muffins, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, nuts, crackers and cheese, whole milk, and whole milk yogurt. Keep snacks on hand in your gym bag, locker, or car for before and after exercise. See "Grab and Go" for portable snack ideas
- Stay well hydrated. Drink fluids before, during, and after exercise. While exercising, make sure to drink sports drinks that contain both water and salt. Avoid coffee, tea, and soda
- Eat salty foods before, during, and after exercise to prevent dehydration, especially in hot weather. Examples are: pickles, pretzels, chips, and crackers
Certain activities may cause the body to lose more energy than others, so it is important to be aware of how many calories may be burned during a workout to be sure those calories are replaced. Below is a chart, which provides an estimate of how many calories may be burned during various activities. Remember that the actual amount of energy burned will vary depending on body size, time and intensity of the exercise.
Calorie Cost of Physical Activity(Estimates based on a 110-lb person exercising for 1 hour)
|Mowing lawn (push)||300|
*Source: Children's Memorial Hospital CF Center News Supplement, May 2004
You should talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise routine. Also, you should talk to your doctor and CF Center dietitian if your exercise regimen is making it difficult for you to maintain your weight.
You need extra fluids and salt whenever you exercise, but you should take extra precaution when exercising in warm weather or in a gym that is not cool, as you may be at risk of dehydration.
Increasing fluid intake and choosing fluids that maintain or replace electrolytes, sodium and chloride (salt) is important. Many sports drinks contain electrolytes, but the amount may not be enough for someone who has CF. The level should be slightly higher for you.
Salt intake can also be increased beyond what you usually eat on active days by adding more salt to food and planning salty snacks, such as pickles, pretzels, chips, or crackers during exercise.
Talk to your CF Center dietitian about eating salty foods or adding salt to your sports drink.
The CFChef CF Nutrition Guide was developed with input from Registered Dietitian and CF Nutrition Specialist Suzanne Michel, MPH, RD, LDN, based on information and guidelines from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is not affiliated with, and has not endorsed, the AbbVie CFChef program. The content on Chef4CF.com is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.