Nutritional Tips – for optimal physical activity

In order to reduce or eliminate injury during exercise it’s a good idea to make sure your body is in tip top condition. Good nutrition and hydration are essential to your best physical performance.

Whether you’re a street jogger, a gym goer, or a competitive team player, here’s some simple tips to maximise your workout plan.

NUTRITIONAL TIPS FOR OPTIMAL PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

  • Different foods have different nutrients, so try to eat a variety of foods to get all the nutrients you need. This ThinkstockPhotos-465574667will help you to reach and to stay in peak condition.
  • Don’t skip meals. Eating regular meals and snacks is the best way to keep your body in tip top condition for athletic events.
  • Calories give your body the fuel it needs for exercise and replaces the energy spent during physical activity. This is not a time for cutting calories since exercise requires much more energy than your body’s usual day-to-day needs.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. As with calories, athletes need more fluids than non-athletes. Drink before you feel thirsty, and drink even more in warm and humid weather.

NUTRITION AND HYDRATION BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER EXERCISE

NUTRITION

Before exercise: If you take the time to plan what you’re going to eat before you exercise if will make all the difference in your performance. The key is to prevent low blood sugar and hungry pangs, and to feed your muscles.

Meals high in complex carbohydrates (sweet potatoes, brown rice, wholewheat pasta) are great for pre-exercise meals. They provide long-lasting energy for your body and fuel for your muscles.
However, high fibre foods (bran cereal, baked beans etc) should be limited before exercise, as these may cause stomach upsets since they pass through your digestive system much more slowly. But don’t forget – high-fibre foods are brimming with healthy nutrients, so do include them at other times.

Avoid sweets and sugary drinks, they provide not lasting energy to help fuel your exercise.
Limit foods like eggs and cheese and other high fat foods as part of your pre exercise meal. This type of food takes too long to digest and can cause sluggishness if you consume too much.

After exercise: It’s easy to just curl up on the sofa after a good work out and shower, but it’s very important to refuel your body after exercising. Eating carbohydrates and some protein after exercise helps your body to replace glycogen stores in your muscles during the first few hours after exercise.

HYDRATION

Before exercise: Drinking fluids before exercise hydrates the body, and the amounts of fluids differ with each individual due to a variety of factors: weigh and degree of sweating.

During exercise: Intake of fluids during exercise depend on the length and intensity of your workout. Weather conditions and temperature also influence the amount of fluids you need.

After exercise: Juice, energy drinks and even milk can replace water at this stage, with milk providing much needed protein to assist in rebuilding and repairing muscles.

A good sign of being well hydrated can be indicated by the colour of you urine – clear is good, and darker yellow means you need to up your fluid intake.

For each half kilo you lose during your workout you should replace with 3/4 litre of fluids within the 2 hours after you’ve completed your exercise.

Note: It’s best to consult your physician if you have any health concerns regarding exercise and nutrition.

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