The best food for recovery after exercise

3Wednesdays

quinoa
Quinoa is a high-quality source of carbohydrate. Photograph: Alamy
Many runners do a great job in fuelling themselves for training and racing, but are you thinking enough about nutrition to ensure you recover properly between sessions?

Recovery is a fundamental element of training and racing, but is underestimated by many athletes. It is particularly important for those who train multiple times per day, six days a week, as inadequate recovery can reduce the body’s capacity to maintain high-volume and high-intensity training sessions. In the long term, this can lead to fatigue, illness, injury and compromised performance.

During training, muscle proteins are broken down, and glycogen (carbohydrate) stores and electrolyte levels are reduced. Proper recovery allows the muscles to repair and adapt to the demands being made of them. This, in turn, leads to improvements in performance. For optimal recovery the body requires the right kinds of food in the right amounts.

Consumption of carbohydrates and fluids (including electrolytes) after exercise is recommended. Both are particularly important for those completing endurance exercise, when the likelihood of glycogen depletion and dehydration is high. The role of protein however is less well understood. Consumption of rapidly digestible, high-quality proteins such as whey and soy following intense training or racing will aid muscle repair and muscle soreness.

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Health benefits of cycling via @guardian

3Wednesdays

One of the best ways to explore the outdoors and get a bit of exercise is by getting on your bike and enjoying the benefits of cycling. So saddle up and read our advice to pedal you on.

An accessible way to exercise

You can ride a bicycle almost anywhere, at any time of the year, and without spending a fortune. Many people are intimidated by certain sports due to the high level of skill required, or perhaps because they can’t commit to team sports due to time pressures. Most of us know how to cycle and once you have learnt you don’t forget. All you need is a bike, a half hour here or there, and a bit of confidence.

Promotes weight loss

Steady cycling burns approximately 300 calories per hour. If you cycle for 30 minutes every day you can burn 11 pounds of fat in a year. Since it helps build muscle, cycling will also boost your metabolic rate long after you’ve hopped off the saddle.

Increases muscle tone

Cycling gradually improves general muscle-function, with little risk of over-exercise or strain. Regular cycling strengthens leg muscles and is great for the mobility of hip and knee joints. You will begin to see an improvement in the muscle tone of your legs, thighs, bum and hips.

Continue reading “Health benefits of cycling via @guardian”