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How to recover after a big run or bike ride

Mon, 12/28/2015 - 14:06 -- IV Solutions

Physical activities like running and biking are great ways for people with cystic fibrosis to stay in shape and challenge themselves. If you want push yourself further, here is some advice to help you recover from a satisfying workout.

About Cystic Fibrosis

People with cystic fibrosis have a genetic disease that makes their bodies create thicker mucus. This causes issues like breathing difficulties, lung infections, and digestive problems. Living with CF means you must work hard to stay healthy by being consistent with medication and taking care of your body.

Regular exercise is an important part of cystic fibrosis treatment. A good workout like running or biking strengthens the body and helps and clear your airway. Challenging yourself with a long run or bicycle ride is a rewarding way to keep in shape, but the recovery afterward can be tough. Here are some tips to help get you ready for the next time.

Be sure to talk with your doctor before changing your exercise habits. Don’t ignore your medication or other treatments for the sake of a workout. Try to exercise when it is cool outside, as the heat can affect your breathing. And remember, people with CF should build up to longer workouts, just like anyone else.

Tips for recovering after a long run

If you have CF, you know the importance of staying hydrated. A good run will work up a good sweat, and you need to replace your fluids. Consume plenty of water or energy drink immediately after the run. Drinking past the point of quenching your thirst will help rehydrate you.

Right after your run, there’s a short window where your body does the best job replacing lost calories. Within fifteen minutes of finishing your run, eat something high in calories and carbohydrates. A mix of dried fruit and nuts, a bagel with butter, and pasta salad are all good options. If your stomach can’t handle heavy food right after a tough run, try a healthy shake or fruit juices. You can ask your doctor or nutritionist what they recommend for a post-run snack.

Stretching before a run is important, but some argue it also helps to stretch afterward. Taking the time to do some slow stretching, holding each position for 30 seconds or so, can save you some sore muscles later.

It’s tempting to hop in a hot bath or shower after a run, but heating muscles that are already inflamed can slow down your recovery process. Athletes use ice baths to care for their muscles. You can take a cold shower, focusing the water on your legs, or just use the garden hose to spray your legs down for a few minutes before going in the house.

Later, after you’ve had a nice nap or a hearty meal, you can take that relaxing dip in a hot bath. Add Epsom salt to the water for a real treat and to help you sleep easier that night. After you dry off, get in some more stretches to ease your muscles.

Tips for recovering after a long bike ride

Aftercare for bicycling is similar to running:

  • Your first priority is getting plenty of liquid from water or energy drinks
  • Have snacks handy that are high in calories and carbohydrates
  • Do slow stretches, and hold them for thirty seconds
  • Cool down your legs with an ice bath, cold shower, or the garden hose
  • Later on, take a hot bath with Epsom salt

Many bicyclists recommend having a cool down period at the end of a long workout. Whether you’re on a stationary bike or outside, take the last fifteen minutes to slow down.

Exercise is just one of the many treatments for cystic fibrosis. Learn more about the average day for a person with CF here at IV Solutions.


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Hughes J. 7 Recovery Strategies Used by Pro Cyclists. Active. Accessed May 4, 2015.

Bailey C. Nutrition: How to recover from hard rides. BikeRadar. Accessed May 4, 2015.