When it comes to staying active with high demand athletic events, such as the 2-day, 192 mile bike ride for the Pan Mass Challenge, or an intense aerobic or gym workout, it’s extremely important to prevent injuries, keep your body healthy and to fuel up with the right nutrients. Here are a few tips to keep you healthy and active:
- Sleep is Key – Getting enough sleep is vital to a healthy lifestyle. Seven to eight hours of sleep each night is now considered optimal, however, if you’re an athlete in training, your body may actually require more. If you exercise regularly, sleep can also improve your stamina and diminish that late afternoon fatigue. A Stanford University study concluded that College Basketball players who added 2 extra hours a sleep a night increased their court speed, improved their shooting accuracy, reacted more quickly and best of all, they were happier!
- Stay Hydrated – Every part of your body requires water to function properly. If you exercise regularly, it becomes even more important to keep your body hydrated. Drinking enough of the right fluids, before, during and after exercise can improve your energy levels. For those riding this weekend in the 150+ mile PMC race, with daytime temperatures estimated to be over 90⁰F, sweat becomes more than just a cosmetic issue. Riders will need to include lots of water but electrolyte replacement as well. If the taste of water is too bland for you, try mixing your water with 100% juice but stay away from those sugary juices made from concentrate. According to the Institute of Medicine, adult men should drink about 13 cups and adult women 9 cups of beverages a day.
- Fuel your ride – Timing your re-fueling with the right foods and beverages is just as important as performing the exercises themselves. Before a work out, eat healthy carbs (whole-wheat or whole-grains), low-fat yogurt, brown rice, fruits or veggies. After your workout it is encouraged to focus on eating proteins and healthy carbs. PositiveHealthWellness.com also recommends eating a meal that contains 50% of the calories you just burned, within 2 hours of your work out.
- Meal Prep: Preparing healthy meals each week can be a time suck. So, the sec
ret is to prepare your meals ahead of time. This is also known as meal prepping. The point of meal prep is to make your life easier throughout the week but to still eat the right foods. Take one afternoon a week and prepare enough food for the entire week. If you’re not keen on the idea of meal prepping for the entire week, spend time at night preparing for the next day. Cut veggies for an “on the go” snack, and freeze foods you can use at a later date and package your foods with the right mix so you have balanced nutrition when you need it. For more information on meal prepping, visit: https://www.pinterest.com/theduchess22/meal-prep-ideas/
- Restore your energy – Resting and recovering from exercise is the difference between your next workout being productive or destructive. The first 30 minutes after an intense training session, such as the Pan Mass Challenge or any other intense activity, is the optimal time to refuel and get the nutrients your body needs. If you don’t eat and hydrate during this crucial recovery window your next workout, training or performance will suffer. Eating a healthy carb heavy meal or drink will aid in refilling your body’s energy. It is also recommended to schedule down time from regular workouts, such as a down day each week to keep exhaustion, overuse injuries and mental fatigue at bay.
6. Plan your recovery – Eat foods rich in the nutrients your body requires, especially those lost during exercise such as potassium. Drink the right fluids, get a sports massage, stretch and eat foods that battle inflammation such as guacamole. Taking care of your muscles and body is the key to recovery after a high-intensity athletic performance.
Good Luck to all of the riders at the 2015 Pan Mass Challenge, but especially to our very own, Tim Brightman this weekend! #stayactive #pmc2015