Eating a healthy diet is sufficient for an active lifestyle. But, exercising makes the body use more energy and unless you are trying to lose weight, you need to supply your body with more food to balance the extra energy needed by your body. Fulfilling your dietary needs for exercise or any activity can prove advantageous to you:
Carbohydrates for Exercise
Carbohydrates equate to energy. Once digestion, these carbs are broken down into glucose to provide the body with energy. Carbs are an indispensable fuel for exercise and sports. Our body stores carbohydrates in the muscles and liver as glycogen and utilize this available fuel as a source of energy during physical activity. This available glycogen stores are limited and hence, you need to be stored with fuel right at the start of any exercise. If not, you are bound to feel tired or nauseated unable to give your best. This cannot be achieved in one shot and you need to regularly consume carbs to keep your energy stored filled and readily available. Choose carbohydrates perfectly such that they help you perform your activity and also help in recovery.
The Good Ones
Immediately don’t transform yourself into the wonderland of fried potato chips, cookies or pastries-these are the unhealthy/bad carbs and we are never going to even talk about them here. Starchy foods are an important carbohydrate source and so are wholegrain varieties that provide our body with the required fiber, vitamins and minerals like iron, calcium and folate.
Good carbohydrate choices include bread, breakfast cereal, rice, pasta, starchy veggies such as potatoes (with skin), beans and pulses too. Even fruits and milk are good sources of carbs as they contain sugar that helps to give energy to our body. Always remember that starchy foods should occupy one-thirds of your plate of foods as they are high in fiber, slow to release energy, take a longer time to digest and hence, suitable to be included in every meal.
Other carb sources such as biscuits, sweets, cakes and soft drinks must be avoided as they are high in sugars and might give you instant energy, but the energy disappears as fast as it had appeared. They can also lead to dental problems which can affect your body health (oral health is indicative of overall body health).
A sports athlete needs more carbs than a normal person for the reasons mentioned above. The needs differ depending on the exercise they perform and the duration of the exercise. The table below indicates the needs of an athlete in general and these needs might vary according to their energy needs and the exercise they are involved in:
Just to fill these requirements, don’t overload or stud yourself with all the carbs possible in one meal. Plan your total carb intake over breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
Nutrition by default implies healthy food and beverages. Have you ever thought about nutrition from the perspective of exercise? If not, it’s time you start analyzing the positive effects of exercising on nutrition. Your kids might want to lift weights, participate in CrossFit classes or do strength training along with their usual game of football or table tennis. Often, we as parents are confused on the effects of these exercises on the health of the child, if in case it might harm them and cause injury.
There is no study till date that supports the fact that strength training in the form of using free weights, weight machines, elastic tubes or the child’s own weight stunts growth. Rather, the opposite is said to be true. For instance, studies show that a girl aged about 9 years who uses dumbbells and elastic bands for 10 months can expect her bone density to improve by 6% compared to only 1.5% when she is not involved in strength training.
Strength Training May Prevent Sports Injuries
Even acclaimed academies give thumbs up sign for strength training for kids 8 years and above as it is an excellent approach to prevent millions of sports-related injuries that occur every year. These academies also support the fact that kids get to build strong muscles without increasing muscle size until they cross puberty. Strength training in children not only improves body composition and cardiac fitness but also blood cholesterol, bone density and mental health.
What Is CrossFit?
The word ‘CrossFit’ is often used nowadays with respect to gym training and exercise. CrossFit includes:
Best Strength Programs
A typical program includes active games, 20-25 minutes of weight training and fun activities that help sharpen motor skills. It is better to choose programs that have kids use bands, dumbbells and child-adaptable machines instead of the child’s body weight. By this, the kid learns to add resistance as they build strength.
Some children who might not be suitable for strength training include kids with uncontrolled high blood pressure, seizure disorders or those with a history of chemotherapy.