It is summer time in most parts of the world and lots of sports people are getting ready for holidays. Some are participating in sporting events, while others go to the gym to meet their body and fitness goals.
Getting into the habit of exercising on a regular basis may be difficult for some, but more and more individuals realise that being physically fit is beneficial in a world where the rate of obesity is on the rise.
Many have discovered that to keep obesity at bay and maintain a healthy bodyweight, regular exercise is the way to go.
Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lung health improve, you have more energy to tackle daily chores. Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength, boost your endurance and burn excess fat.
However, after exercises, the body is exhausted and worn out. This is due to the physical exertion of the body and the use of large amounts of energy.
To replace this lost energy, it is important to eat nutrient dense foods, especially if you are an athlete. Nutrient dense foods are foods that contain high quality and high variety nutrients in a single serving. Examples are fruits and vegetables, eggs, nuts, whole grains, etc.
Foods that have a great variety of proteins, vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates and healthy lipids are ideal for post – exercise meals. This is because these nutrients help individuals improve their metabolism and recover their lost energy.
Of all these, protein is the most valuable — and most beneficial. Protein is vital in all metabolic processes in the body. It repairs worn out cells and tissues, repairs muscle fibers, grants energy to the body, and helps the body operate at peak performance.
For instance, sprinters, swimmers or tennis players require short bursts of energy during their sporting activities. At certain times, strain is put on their joints, ligaments and tendons, which causes fatigue.
To remedy this, athletes eat protein rich meals after the sporting events, to eliminate fatigue and repair their muscles. It restores the entire body system, fortifies the body against infections, and promotes muscle recovery by reducing soreness after exhaustive exercise.
Protein stimulates muscle growth and regeneration and is involved in energy production. It’s also necessary for tissue growth and the absorption of zinc and selenium, minerals that are vital to your health.
This helps them in so many ways to keep fit and keep in shape. High protein diets with foods like soybeans, millets, whey, and quinoa are great for body building.
Reginald Onabu, Researcher and Public Relations Officer, Writes from Lagos