Preventing Injuries with Proper Nutrition
Spring is finally here! The weather is getting warmer and everyone is already outside exercising. As we enter this new training season, it is important to focus on proper nutrition. Proper nutrition is important to not just power your workouts, but to also prevent potential injuries. When we train, we sometimes focus too much on strengthening our bodies to keep them strong, but sometimes we forget to think about what we’re putting into our bodies! Take a look at these nutrition tips to stay injury free this spring and summer training season!
- Take in enough calories. Eating too little is one of the common mistakes made by athletes. This often happens when you are trying to lose a few pounds. It is important that you provide your body with enough calories to fuel your workout and your recovery period. Constantly consuming too few calories will decrease your performance level and will leave you feeling fatigue.
- Don’t forget your macronutrients! We cannot forget that we ALL need our carbohydrates, proteins, and fats EVERY DAY. Carbohydrates provide us with energy during our workouts by breaking down muscle glycogen (our body’s stored energy). Proteins help us with muscle and tissue repair and enhance our immune function. Fats (think avocado, olive oil, and nuts) help us fight inflammation and reduce muscle soreness.
- Pay attention to WHEN you eat your meals. Avoid exercising on an empty stomach. Consume a carbohydrate rich meal prior to your workout. You can also boost your recovery by eating within 30-60 minutes after working out.
- Get an adequate about of vitamins and minerals. In addition to enough overall calories, make sure you’re getting adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals like calcium, Vitamin D, iron, zinc and magnesium. Calcium is important for building strong bones and preventing injuries like stress fractures. It also plays a role in preventing muscle cramps. Vitamin D is needed for calcium absorption and can be found in milk, fish, eggs and many fortified foods. Iron not only transports oxygen to the muscles, but is essential to the reactions that create energy. Zinc and magnesium are important for muscle tissue repair and a healthy immune system!
If you’ve already suffered an injury that has left you on the sidelines, don’t get discouraged.
Remember that proper nutrition (along with physical therapy) can help get you back in the game! Visit a Physical Therapist to create an individualized meal plan and exercise program that incorporates your goals and works for you.