During recent decades special interest have been seen in physical fitness programs and sports, The dietary goal for individuals involved in different sports and exercises is to obtain adequate nutrition in order to carry out physical activities. Many nutritional supplements and dietary regimen are sometimes taken by the fitness-conscious individuals in hope of getting maximum benefits from the exercise plans. Unfortunately most of the diet plans are based on misinformation and food myths.
A healthy and balanced diet during exercise is essential and will provide you with all the nutrients needed by the body to carry out physical activity.
Nutritional requirements in exercises
Nutrient requirement for individuals carrying out physical activities vary with weight, height, age, sex and with the type , frequency, intensity and duration of exercise.
During exercise it is essential to drink plenty of fluids in order to maintain a normal body temperature and prevent dehydration which results from sweating. Dehydration or not drinking enough water directly effect performance. Some useful tips for proper hydration are
- Drink at least 1 -2 glass of water 2 hours before and after exercise.
- Drink 1 glass of water after every 20 min during exercise.
- A replacement drink containing sodium and glucose is required to prevent dehydration in strenuous exercises and sports that lasts for more than an hour.
- Drink should be cool.
Carbohydrates are an important source of energy that body needs in order to perform any activity. In general more carbohydrates are needed for more vigorous activities because the first source of fuel for exercising muscles are its own carbohydrates stores. A diet low in carbohydrates results in lack of energy and low blood sugar levels.
Depending upon the training regimen , a special attention should be given on type and quantity of carbohydrates. Healthy sources of carbohydrates include wholegrain bread and cereals and fruits.
The popular belief about proteins among those involved in physical exercises and body building is that it increases strength and enhances performance. Protein supplements are also taken by some athletes, however this should be discouraged as it puts additional stress on liver and kidneys.
In general the amount of proteins consumed by a normal individual is sufficient enough to meet the requirement of proteins during exercise and sports.
People involved in strenuous physical activities should consume 20-30% of their total calories from fats. For individuals who need to lose weight can limit consumption of dietary fat. Doing this eliminates excess calories but not nutrients.
Vitamins and minerals
The vitamins and minerals levels should be carefully monitored in order to avoid micronutrient deficiencies and sports anaemia.
Exercise and weight management
Exercise along with balanced diet is extremely important part in weight management. In order to lose weight it is essential to keep an eye on your intake after exercise. Physical activities often leave you feeling quite hungry and at that time proper choice of food is essential. Eating deliberately after exercise and wrong choice of food will eventually result in weight gain rather than weight loss.