Why is nutrition important when exercising?

Adequate nutrition is necessary if the benefits of exercising are to be achieved and should go hand in hand. During an exercise, the rate of metabolism (catabolism in this case) increases and that burns up a lot of calories. This means that there is depletion of our energy levels and thus must be replaced by proper nutrition.

While exercising, there is increase in the breakdown of carbohydrates and fats. They all need to be replaced and in cases where the essence is to build the muscles, will require that, adequate amino acid sources are ingested to allow the new rate of muscle building triggered off by the exercise.

The body demands increase tremendously and will take adequate amount of energy from carbohydrates to power the level of metabolism going on. Proteinous foods will supply the amino acids needed for muscle building. All these including micronutrients like B vitamins and chromium, antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, and minerals such as calcium and magnesium will be needed at extra quantities. The level of metabolism releases even more free radicals and as such, increase mop up action will be needed by anti-oxidants.

You will need to drink more water than you usually do. During exercising, you loss fluid extremely from sweat and insensible loses due to increase respiration, and so you are easily dehydrated. This can lead to heat stroke, hypovolemic shock, renal stone formation etc. So you will need a lot of water to cool off the exothermic reaction that is taking place in your body.

There is virtually an increase in every single chemical reaction in the body. Just as everything else is working overtime, so are the heart muscles. You will need to supply the heart with adequate vitamins like B and C, oxygen and other nutrients to ensure that the electrical activities in the heart continue to meet up the new demands. More sodium and potassium ions influx and efflux occurs and nutritional intake should be such that can meet up with these activities. Depletion of these ions could cause heart block.

Before or after exercises, adequate carbohydrate which is the main energy source for physical activities should be taken. If you want to do so before an exercise, you need to allow time for adequate digestion to occur and commence when the food is no longer much in the stomach to avoid Angina as blood flow is more to the abdominal organs thereby depriving the heart. Ideally, we should eat after a good rest following exercise paying attention to the needs of the body.

For athletes, wrestlers, boxers and other sports people, that strong grip and balance in the legs can not be developed if exercises are not properly complemented by good nutrition. For a strong grip, the muscles of the hands need to grow bigger and stronger, the leg muscles must grow bigger too for balance, and the bones are not going to be strong enough without adequate calcium supply from a diet rich in fruits, fish and milk.

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