Exercise and Nutrition – Adults


People with CF are at a higher risk of dehydration because of the increased amount of salt lost through sweat. Therefore, fluid and salt intake will need to be increased when exercising to replace these losses. You should drink at least 2-3 litres of fluid a day to remain hydrated.

When you are playing sport or exercising you should drink:

  • 500-600ml two hours prior to exercise
  • 150-350ml right before exercise
  • 150-200ml every 15-20 minutes during exercise

Sports drinks can be beneficial for people with CF during exercise, especially in warmer weather.

Benefits of sports drinks include:

  • Increased thirst sensation and therefore fluid intake
  • Improved hydration statuspost exercise.
  • Helps maintain healthy digestion and bowel function

Some electrolyte replacement drinks can contain excess sugar and minimal salt. Aim to choose products that contain more salt and less sugar. The table below outlines the sodium (salt) content for some popular brands. Hydralyte Sports is considered one of the better brands for rehydration because of the high sodium (salt) content.

What to Eat Before and After Exercise

It is important to eat a well-balanced meal two to three hours before exercising. This will allow enough time for digestion and good stores of energy for your body to use as fuel. Follow this by a light snack one hour before exercising. The snack should be:

  • Relatively low in fat and fibre
  • High in carbohydrate
  • Moderate in protein
  • A familiar food that is well tolerated (won’t upset your stomach)
  • Include adequate hydration

Snack ideas include:

After exercising you should refuel by having something else to eat.

The food should:

  • Include a source of carbohydrates to replace muscle glycogen stores
  • Be high in protein for muscle repair and growth
  • Include adequate fluid and electrolytes

Don’t forget to eat a full meal within two hours of finishing exercise. As the energy requirements for people with CF are higher than the general population, eating regular meals around exercise is particularly important.

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