Hydration is extremely important to any athlete. An adult males body is made up of about 60% water. Water helps to keep your body at a regular temperature, and it helps transport nutrients to give you energy while you exercise. However, hydration does not only consist of water. While water is a very important factor, sports drinks such as Gatorade and a new favorite, BodyArmor are equally as important. Sports drinks are key to hydration because they contain sodium. Sodium causes muscle contractions, allowing an athlete to perform to their fullest ability. Without sodium, and only water, a person can experience a severe condition known as hyponatremia (low sodium).
Another important factor of sports drinks is the sugar they contain. Sugar gives the body energy, and also causes you to drink more water, limiting the chance of dehydration. Accompanying sugar in sports drinks is a mineral called potassium. Most people know that potassium is good at eliminating cramps and is why you are told to eat a banana if you are experiencing cramping. But most people do not know why potassium is so important to your body. It helps regulate fluid balance and muscle contractions in your body just like sodium does.
Potassium and sodium are both electrolytes. When these two are at adequate levels, they create optimal muscle contractions. This means your muscles are working efficiently, and with the right amount of nutrients. This is why they do not cramp. However, without enough of both electrolytes, it can lead to deficiencies or other health conditions, such as heart arrhythmias and fainting.
As you can see, hydration is key to any athlete no matter your age or physical condition. If you are partaking in physical activity then you must make sure you are properly hydrated. But now you wonder what is the right balance between sports drinks and water. A commonly thought ration is two 16oz bottles of water to one sports drink. This ensures maximal hydration.
The term "Super Food" gets thrown around a lot in the fitness community. But what exactly is a super food? And what on earth makes them so special? Well, in this post we are going to list five of the super foods, and tell you what makes each one so special!
There are three key principles that make up a healthy diet; variety, balance, and moderation. First off, a healthy diet must have an adequate amount of variety. This means the food you are eating needs to come from multiple sources. Many people get stuck in a routine of eating the same foods over and over again, and while they may be healthy foods, you could be missing out on key nutrients. For example, eating a certain vegetable every day is great except you are neglecting your body of key nutrients which may not be found in that vegetable but are in another. Also, by making your diet more diverse you will continue to be interested in eating and will be more likely to continue healthy eating habits.
The second key principle of a healthy diet is balance. Balance means that you are receiving the proper nutrients from all the major food groups. This ensures that the individual is getting the proper amount of nutrition they need which is found uniquely in each food source.
The third and final key principle of a healthy diet is moderation. No matter how perfect a diet is, it can still be harmful and cause weight gain if it is eaten in too large of a quantity. And on the flip side, no matter how great a diet is, if the person is not eating enough then that person will not benefit fully from the diet. Also, moderation means that each meal must contain the proper amount of food from each food group. You should not eat meals that are super high in protein but lack an adequate amount of carbohydrates, for example. Also, by eating in moderation, you are allowing yourself to not have to completely eliminate any one type of food, meaning you can still eat foods in which you enjoy.