We are all familiar with unfit couch potatoes the sedentary folks who sit all day and shudder at the thought of doing purposeful exercise. Yet, few athletes recognize they may also be couch potatoesapart from the time they spend exercising. Think about it. The average active person:
Sits at breakfast
Drives to work
Sits at work
Takes the elevator to the lunch cafeteria
Sits at lunch
Takes the elevator back to work
Sits at work
Drives to the gym
Exercises for 45 to 60 minutes
Sits at dinner
Sits in front of the TV or computer
Sound familiar? Even if you consider yourself athletic, you likely spend the majority of your day sitting! We no longer get built-in exercise by opening the garage door, rolling down the car window, climbing stairs, walking down the hall to ask a question to a colleague (email is easier), etc., etc.. You get the picture.
We have engineered activity out of our lifestyle. For many of us, the only movement we get in a day is when we do purposeful exercise. According to Neville Owen, speaker at the American College of Sports Medicines Annual Meeting (Seattle, May 2009), the average person sits 9.3 hours a day. This high amount of inactivity is bad for our health, even if we are physically fit.
Owen reports the more a person sits, the higher the risk of mortality. Hence, we not only need to find time to exercise, we also need to find time to not sit such as by standing up when talking on the phone or answering emails (raise your computer by putting it on a cardboard box that you keep under your desk), and biking to work. We can even go back in time and hang laundry out to dry (instead of use the clothes dryer)! I invite you to be creative, and figure out how to move your body in ways that have purpose and meaning. Your health and waistline will be glad you did.
Too many active people believe eating candy is bad for their health. They avoid M&Ms and Hersheys Kisses like the plague. Instead, they opt for "healthy foods" like raisins and bananas. (That is, until the day comes when the go off the deep end.) While the natural goodness of fruit is indeed the more nutritious choice, a candy bar can also fit into a healthy diet. Its far better to enjoy an occasional candy bar as a part of your overall well balanced diet than it is to binge-eat the whole bag of Kisses on a bad diet day, thinking "this is my last chance to ever eat chocolate before I go back on my diet, so I'd better eat the whole thing now."
Keep in mind, your brain has a memory for the delightful taste of chocolate (or whatever food you crave). If you try to ignore your urge for chocolate, youll end up eating the candy bar eventually often after having tried to curb your craving with an apple, crackers, pretzels, sugar-free fudgesicle, anything but the candy bar . and then, 500 calories later, you succumb to the Milky Way. You could have more wisely enjoyed it in the first place.
Next time you have a craving for a specific food, relax, eat the treat slowly, taste it, savor the flavor, and enjoy the treat -- guilt-free. One candy bar will not ruin your health forever. In fact, it might enhance your (mental) health. Moderation is the key!
Chocolate milk is an excellent recovery choice. After a hard workout, your muscles want carbs to refuel and high quality protein to build and heal. Rather than buy an expensive engineered sports food, enjoy a tall glass of low fat chocolate milk (or any flavored milk, for that matter).
In a study with cyclists who:
--depleted their muscles during an exhaustive bike ride, and then
--refueled with equal amounts of carbs in chocolate milk or a commercial recovery drink,
--then the next day did a time trial,
the cyclists gained no performance benefits from the commercial drink.
The bottom line: Save your moneyand also nourish your body with a whole food that offers far more life-sustaining nutritional value than just carbs and protein. Likely tastes better, too!
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) is the worlds largest sports medicine and exercise science organization. At ACSM's 2009 Annual Meeting, over 5,000 exercise scientists, sports dietitians, physicians and health professionals gathered to share their research. Here are a few of the nutrition highlights related to fluids. More highlights are available at http://www.acsm.org (click on news releases).
Just rinsing your mouth with a sports drink may help you run faster! After an overnight fast (13-15 hours without food) and before and during a one hour time trial, 10 trained runners rinsed their mouth for five seconds with a sports drink or a placebo, and then spit it out. With the sports drink mouth rinse, they were able to run 365 meters longer in the time trial.
An effective sports drink needs to be rapidly absorbed. Adding sodium (40-165 mg) to the beverage does not significantly slow absorption.
Athletes who exercise in the heat might wonder if they can hyper-hydrate. Yes; more fluid is retained when a sports drink has a higher sodium content. Drinking a sports drink with double and triple the standard amount of sodium contributed to retaining 25% and 35% more water (12 and 17 ounces; 340 and 480 ml) than the standard sports drink.
About 25% of athletic trainers use pickle juice to treat muscle cramps. Some report 1 to 2 ounces of pickle juice relieves cramps within 35 seconds. The mechanism is illusive because rapid relief must mean that pickle juice empties from the stomach very quickly. Yet, research indicates pickle juice empties very slowly from the stomach.