Sunday, March 22, 2009

Nutrition And Healthy Food - The Key To Endurance Sports


Nutrition And Healthy Food - The Key To Endurance Sports

Do you love sports? I do, and I guess I am very lucky I did. I said it because of the healthy benefits it is providing me. It does not matter which type of sports you are engaged in. In order to excel in sports like a triathlon, which is one of the hardest endurance sports, you need to develop your endurance. What keeps an athlete going for those long and hard hours in spite of the heat is a totally nutritional and hydrated body. All endurance sports whether swimming, running, cycling, triathlon, mountain biking, rowing, cross-country skiing, mountaineering or trekking require excellent hydration with proper nutrition. Did you know that improper nutrition and hydration can cause fatigue and poor performance?

To prepare for an endurance sport it involves adequate nutrition which includes proteins for the muscles and carbohydrates for the energy. Physical activity involves plus proper hydration. One of the main factors for an endurance sports according to the athletes and trainers is proper hydration. This involves pre-hydration of the event, hydration during the event and thorough hydration after the event to recover.

Drinking plenty of water and hydrating the body before the actual performance can give the athlete a head start for the performance. Scientifically controlled studies show that humans can live for a month without eating but can only survive without water for three to seven days. The body is made up of fifty to seventy percent water and keeping the body hydrated keeps the cells working right. People with diarrhea die not because of the diarrhea but by the dehydration caused by the diarrhea. Water is one of the most important components for the body to survive.

Endurance sport athletes generally sweat off about two quarts of water an hour in humid, hot weather. This is why it is important for the athlete to drink a minimum of four to eight ounces of water or a sport drink each twenty minutes. It may be wise to set an alarm timer each twenty minutes during a twenty-four hour period to get used to this and to remind the athlete that its drink time. Freezing the drinking bottles and packing them with insulation will keep the water cool. The athletes are not aware of the quantity of water that has been lost and it is usually much more than they are aware of. Always carry more water than you can drink. Downing them each twenty minutes will very quickly dwindle the supply. Once the endurance test has begun, the athlete must hydrate regularly during the game.

Is it better to drink water rather than sports drinks or vice versa for endurance sports? Most research concluded that sports drinks are better than water. Those athletes hydrated with sports drinks, hydrated almost the full one-hundred percent while those hydrated with water, they recovered only 50%. The body loses salts in the sweat and salts are electrolytes including magnesium, sodium and potassium which help retain body fluid for the proper body function. Remember that loss of electrolytes can cause extreme exhaustion, irregular heartbeat, dizziness and muscle cramps and in extreme situations even death.

The most important factor in endurance sports is to hydrate the body and maintain it hydrated during the game. It is preferable to use a sport drink over plain water for hydration. Sport drink has a better source for the electrolytes lost. For all endurance sports always remember, you must hydrate before, during and after the game for optimum performance. Always eat proper healthy and nutritional food daily, even there are no games to compete with.

By: Kawayan

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