MILAN – Spring has come, and with it the desire to stay outdoors, enjoy the extra hours of light, but also to shake of the greyness of winter and devote ourselves to our well-being, focusing on physical activity. There are many people today who choose to do some jogging, as one is free to choose the place and time of the day that one most prefers, the length of training and, for those who are unable to part with their headphones, also one’s favourite background music. It is the most popular amateur sport in the world, but one must understand it well in order to avoid any health setbacks.
Importance of nutrition
One must first start off on the right foot. In order to train correctly, it is important to follow some simple rules. It is advisable to combine physical exercise with a balanced diet and avoid exercise after having had a big meal, because if the body is very busy digesting, its movement performance is less efficient. It is however best to avoid undertaking physical activity whilst fasting, as muscles need energy to function correctly. We can thus opt for a diet rich in water and fibres, such as fresh seasonal fruit.
Correct hydration is an extra ally
As for what concerns hydration, one normally drinks when feeling thirsty after having done some physical exercise. However, not everybody know that it is important to hydrate both before and during physical exercise, especially is sweating a lot. One can indeed prevent dehydration through a form of water intake “planning”.
“It is necessary to drink water already during the first hours of the day, to ensure the body has the appropriate reserves – explains Dr Alessandro Zanasi, expert at Sanpellegrino Observatory and lecturer at Bologna University – This would also allow to expel any access before the activity. Before physical exercise it is preferable to hydrate with water rich in mineral nutrients, essential to allow muscular contraction and avoid cramps and muscular spasms”.
How to reintegrate and restore nutrients
Another suggestion from the experts is that one must reintegrate immediately the liquids lost during physical exercise. “Whilst running, every liquid loss must be adequately counterbalanced, with more attention the longer the effort and the higher the environmental temperature – continues il Dr Zanasi - It is therefore important to always have a bottle of water close to hand when training, doing so might also help one’s performance”.
After training, one should consider that the body has also lost sodium and potassium: for this reason, it is necessary to restore these nutrients within 15-30 minutes after physical exercise, because within that time lapse our body is more receptive to the intake of liquids. The loss of the latter must be reintegrated even if one does not perceive the need, and this is key to a rapid regeneration process and in order not to face risks associated with limited hydration, as for example shivers and cramps.
by Alessandro Conte