Exercise is essential to your health in many ways. Exercise can help you stay at (or get to) a healthy body weight. reduce your risk of fractures, keep you in a happier mental state, and can reduce the risk of many diseases (i.e. cancer and heart disease).
Exercise is what keeps your body's muscle and joints well conditioned. Underutilization of your muscles and joints will make your body become weaker. When you exercise you gain stamina, strength, stronger bones, and flexibility.
So what does exercise have to do with nutrition? Nutrition provides the energy you need for your physical activities. As you get more active and become more fit and/or lose weight, your energy needs (caloric needs) may change. To get the energy you require, you need to get the proper amount of macronutrients:
· Protein: Maintains and rebuilds tissues such as muscles.
· Carbohydrates: The body's preferred source of energy.
· Fat: Also provides energy.
· ***Don't forget your H20: Replacement of water lost throughout your activities.
Eating a diet that is balanced can provide your body with all the nutrients that it needs without receiving too much, or too little, of one nutrient.
Exceptions lay within individuals who are athletes or whom are extremely active. These individuals may have special nutritional needs that usually require more carbohydrates (i.e. whole sources such as grains, vegetables, and fruits) than the amount recommended for the average person. Carbohydrates are stored as "ready energy" in your liver and muscles. This energy supply gets used up very quickly during exercise. Endurance athletes (such as runners, triathletes, and cyclists) need a particularly large amount of carbohydrates and often need to refuel during their activities with food and water/electrolytes. However, until the foods are digested, the muscles will not get all of the oxygen and energy-delivering blood they need during the workout, so it’s best to choose foods that the body can digest quickly. Your post-workout re-feed should include nutrients from both carbohydrates and protein. When an adequate amount of food nutrients and water/electrolytes are consumed before, during ,and after your exercise blood glucose concentrations are being maintained; which maximizes athletic performance and improves recovery time.
In order for growth to occur and to maximize the benefits of your workouts, your body and mind need to recover. There needs to be time and rest for each system to repair and adapt to the acute stimuli from training. In order for the body to repair effectively, the right amount of nutrients need to be taken in so that proper levels are restored for the next workout. When adequate food and water/electrolytes are consumed before, during, and after exercise, not only is performance improved; but, recovery time is maximized. Post-workout nutrition and it's timing are very important. You need to replenish your body's energy sources that were just depleted.