Whether you follow a structured exercise program, play a sport or include
exercise as part of your daily routine all exercise adds up to a healthier life. For active people good nutrition is essential to maintain body weight, replenish muscle glycogen stores and provide the fuel for training.
Without good nutrition an athlete can experience fatigue, illness, muscle loss, bone loss, iron deficiency and injuries.
Stay Hydrated The most obvious sign of dehydration is thirst, but other signs include: fatigue, muscle cramps, headaches, dizziness, nausea, and difficulty paying attention. The only way for the body to avoid and recover from dehydration is through fluid intake. To avoid becoming dehydrated, you should continually think about your fluid intake throughout the day, not just during exercise.
Always Warm Up Spend 10-25 minutes warming up before a game or exercise. This is important to help increase the blood supply to your muscles and reduce the chance of injury.
Don’t Forget to Cool Down To reduce the likelihood of muscle soreness after training, make sure you take the time to do a 10-15 minute cool down. Include stretching and flexibility work to help clear the body of waste products and minimise muscle soreness.
Recovery Nutrition What and when you eat after exercise has been found to be the biggest influence on recovery. Nutritionists recommend a post workout meal within 30 minutes of exercise. Ideally it should include fluid, carbohydrates and a small amount of protein. To avoid the wrong foods after exercise such as chips and hotdogs, take your own snacks to the gym or game.
Sleep Lack of sleep impairs your performance. Your body functions and recovers best when you have regular consistent sleep patterns. If you are struggling with your exercise, check to see whether you are getting enough sleep.
Flexibility Yoga or Pilates is a great way to increase flexibility as well as total-body strength and balance. Most fitness centre’s run yoga or stretch classes or you can even get a DVD and practice at home.
Vary Your Training No training program is perfect because everyone is different. Your body will eventually accommodate to any program and when it does you will hit a plateau. That’s why progression must be gradual and long-term consistency is the key.