Exercising must occupy a vital part in people’s daily routines. Not only does it assist in improving physical activity, but it also helps in maintaining a stable state of mental health. Although there are several sports such as badminton, tennis, and volleyball that are entertaining and helpful for improving physical health; However, Running is numbered among the most popular sports because it does not require expertise, resistance exercises, or specialized equipment. Moreover, sports nutrition is of high importance since nutrition can help runners perform better by providing the source of energy needed to perform the activity. Training alone will not be highly beneficial for runners; they also need appropriate nutrition to follow up with. Thus, both sports and nutrition are needed to attain a healthy lifestyle.
Not everything can be eaten before and after an exercise. Consequently, to have a successful race, it is crucial to know what to eat. Most importantly, the body must be kept hydrated before, during, and after the activity. Before a day from the race, inexperienced runners often make the mistake of overeating which will cause their digestive system to become overwhelmed and bloated. The ideal timing to stop eating is two hours before the race. The majority of meals recommended for pre-run are rich in carbohydrates since they break down to glucose which is the primary energy source for the body. Excess glucose is stored in the muscles and the liver as glycogen.
Furthermore, a small number of proteins and fats low in cholesterol and saturated fats are recommended to provide strength and energy, but the priority is for carbohydrates. Fluids are extremely needed to maintain hydration in the body to compensate for the loss of sweat and to preserve homeostasis. For example, such meals include whole-grain toast with eggs and nuts on the side and two cups of water. Fruits such as orange or banana can be added because they are counted as a great source of water. These sources are healthier obtained from natural foods rather than supplements and protein shakes.
Maintaining hydration is the only thing needed during a mid-run that will be completed in less than an hour. Several characteristics affect the volume of water required for every individual. External factors include the weather, the timing, and the duration of the race. Internal factors are the individual’s weight; while some people sweat heavily and urinate less, others sweat less and urinate more. In addition, diabetic individuals tend to drink more than others. If the race is more than an hour, there may be times that a small break is given to fuel energy. In this state, glycogen in the muscles and liver might be depleted. For that, carbohydrates should be consumed to replace the glucose that has been lost. Energy bars or raisins will be a great choice.
Post-running meals’ quantity depends on every individual whether they want to gain or lose weight. Within two hours after the race, a balanced meal composed of lean protein, carbohydrates, and good fat must be taken, such as rice, fish, and avocadoes. In addition, alcohol must be avoided for at least 24 hours to compensate for the fluid balance in the body first. Eating fruits and fresh drinks will also help in re-obtaining this balance. Moreover, drinking water frequently is a must even though the individual is not thirsty, for thirst is the first sign of dehydration! Thus, drink water regularly and test for dehydration by the urine color; it must be light yellow. The darker the color, the more water intake is needed.
Foods to avoid before and after a race include:
- Chilly food
- Sugar-filled drinks
- High fiber veggies/fruits
- Saturated fats
Sports fill a hole in our lives, and running is the simplest type of sport that everybody can practice. It seems to take one step forward. Despite its mental relaxation, such as reducing stress and anxiety, it plays a vital role in decreasing the risks for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Along with a proper diet, these goals can be reached and easily accomplished. In conclusion, the most excellent method to achieve a healthy lifestyle is to exercise daily and adequate nutrition.
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