Optimal exercise for keeping healthy means a combination of regular, low-level activity, strength-training and cardio. If you can get that right you will be boosting heart health, as well as building physical strength and mental resilience!
Fresh food is your best bet for ensuring good nutrition. The fewer the chemicals, and the lower the processing, the better your body can recognise and use the fuel you give it.
Plus, fresh food is usually higher in vitamins and minerals. But, bear in mind that fruit or veg that has been picked too early and flown for miles may be lower in nutrients than freshly harvested produce grown in fertile soil. And, sometimes, picked and rapidly-frozen produce may retain nutrients better than food that has sat around on the shelf for too long. So, think of quality when you shop. Remember, if you were aiming for high performance from a car, you wouldn’t fill it with the cheapest fuel! You’d invest in the best. Treat your body the same and you’ll reduce the risk of breaking down before the finish line.
Keep In Balance
Ensuring a good selection of all the major food groups (macros) and micronutrients will also help you achieve your best as you train.
Recovery is important too, and you need nutrients to repair and build your muscles and replenish energy stores. Make sure your eating plan is high in good quality protein, healthy fats and fibre. Around 1.4-2g of protein per kilogram of weight, per day, is recommended by the International Society of Sports Nutrition – just make sure it is a good source of protein that contains all of the essential amino acids. You may even need a high-quality protein supplement to help you achieve that aim.
By taking most of your carbs in the form of fibre-filled veg, such as carrots, beets and broccoli and wholegrains such as oats, quinoa, bulgar and brown rice, you will also get loads of antioxidants and other nutrients.
To be sure of a wide range of those micronutrients, eat a rainbow – the greater a variety of colourful veg and fruit you eat, the more phytochemicals you will give your body. Phytochemicals are nutrients that give produce the characteristic colour and give us heaps of health benefits.
Jäger R, Kerksick CM, Campbell BI, et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: protein and exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017;14:20. Published 2017 Jun 20.