Mak­ing healthy eat­ing choices is es­sen­tial for ag­ing ath­letes

Sherbrooke Record - - LOCAL SPORTS - A Run­ner’s Mind Chris­tine Blanchette

Prop­erly fu­el­ing your body is es­sen­tial to per­form­ing your best, even more so as we age. Many of us not liv­ing in a cave have heard, “You are what you eat” and then brush it aside as a lit­tle ditty with­out merit. Stop right there and read it again…slowly. I can now al­most count the chips cur­rently re­sid­ing in var­i­ous neigh­bour­hoods of my body. For­tu­nately, there are not many left that haven’t been burned out through ex­er­cise, but you get my point. You re­ally are what you eat. For the ath­lete over 40 there are some rec­om­mended healthy food choices to keep you vi­brant and less re­liant on power work­outs to do the job.

Holis­tic nutri­tion­ist San­dra Mill­ward shares some healthy eat­ing tips for the ag­ing ath­lete.

"We can age grace­fully and main­tain great health by eat­ing an anti-in­flam­ma­tory die,”mill­ward says, “There is lots of in­for­ma­tion out there to fol­low a diet that lessens in­flam­ma­tion but my rule of thumb to fol­low is when shop­ping, to avoid the mid­dle aisles that are loaded with pack­aged goods and stick to the outer ar­eas of the gro­cery store."

Eat­ing a well-bal­anced diet con­tain­ing the right amount of car­bo­hy­drates (carbs), pro­tein, fats, vi­ta­mins, and also drink­ing enough wa­ter will keep you healthy and im­prove your qual­ity of life.

"Al­ways con­sume a full spec­trum of colour­ful or­ganic veg­eta­bles, in­clud­ing lots of all greens! They pro­vide a lot of fiber, are rich in min­er­als (for all sys­tems to have the coen­zyme fac­tors for re­cov­ery and build­ing mus­cle), and loaded with vi­ta­mins to nour­ish the body and skin to main­tain its healthy bal­ance through the ag­ing process. Healthy and alive foods create healthy and alive cells in our bod­ies."

She con­tin­ues, "Ap­ple Cider Vine­gar in the morn­ing to build HCL (Hy­drochlo­ric Acid) in the stom­ach and help pro­tein di­ges­tion. My lat­est plea­sure is to drink Kom­bucha or use fer­mented foods to build healthy gut flora to im­prove im­mune sys­tem, plus the glu­cosamine in Kom­bucha helps build Hyaluronic acid which helps pro­tect car­ti­lage and re­duce joint pain."

For snacks to have pre and post work­out, Mill­ward rec­om­mends the fol­low­ing sim­ple carbs such as dates, apri­cots, dried ba­nanas which are high in nat­u­ral su­gar. She says, "So eat enough to pro­vide your­self with en­ergy but not to over­load your sys­tem with su­gar and create a rush of in­sulin. How much (food in­take) will vary de­pend­ing on the du­ra­tion of the (work­out). For a 30-45 minute run, a small hand­ful will pro­vide enough calo­ries to give you en­ergy. Post work­out, stud­ies show that a pro­tein and car­bo­hy­drate com­bi­na­tion within one hour of train­ing is most ben­e­fi­cial."

If you are a veg­e­tar­ian or ve­gan you can have plant based pro­tein rich foods such as peas, spinach, broc­coli, kale, beans, and quinoa. TIP: Eat­ing rice and beans within 24 hours of each other is a veg­e­tar­ian com­plete pro­tein.

To get the most out of an ath­lete's per­for­mance, Mill­ward says, "In my work with ath­letes I ac­knowl­edge that they have this in­nate abil­ity to push them­selves to get the job done. This is in part due the phys­i­o­log­i­cal sys­tems of things like en­dor­phin re­lease which in­creases their in­cred­i­ble abil­ity to fo­cus and de­sire to achieve their per­sonal best.

She ex­plains, "Plan­ning out train­ing, strate­giz­ing the plays, and set­ting goals, is of­ten the fo­cus and pri­or­ity when they are im­prov­ing their sport. They tend to an­a­lyze or mea­sure things like heart beats per minute, oxy­gen use, dis­tance train­ing, team strat­egy plays, or how much weight they lift in train­ing. How­ever, what we do day in and day out to create a great ma­chine is also im­por­tant and although not as sexy to mea­sure how far I ran to­day, ev­ery­day nutri­tion is the foun­da­tion from which to build all of these plans for your sport of choice. Eat­ing bal­anced and well of­fers your body more juice to keep go­ing, heal more ef­fi­ciently and in­evitably, pro­vide a stronger base for sport and, for life."

Fol­low­ing a proper ex­er­cise pro­gram and choos­ing healthy foods will keep you en­joy­ing your ac­tiv­ity. We sim­ply can’t get away with the deca­dent food choices we made in our care­free youth. You’re go­ing to have to ask your­self, am I the sum of a group of slim wedge ap­ple slices? Or, am I just a large slice of straw­berry cheese­cake? And if you an­swered to the lat­ter, you have to ask your­self an­other ques­tion, do I feel lucky? Well, do you?


San­dra Mill­ward

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