Exercise, diet, work and rest
- It is important to understand the conection between exercise, diet, work and rest. Each has an equal part to play in ensuring happiness and wellbeing.
- We all need to work to cahallange ourselves, create oppertunity and to provide finance to maintain the lifestyle we want.
- We need to exercise to keep fit and healthy and allow us to work succesfully and enjoy life in our free time.
- Adequate rest maintains a balance between the two and allows us to function at our best.
- Finally a balanced diet provides all the essential nutrients our body needs for health, fitness, strength and wellbeing.
A Balanced Diet
Eating a balanced diet is an important part of a healthy active lifestyle.
- What makes up a balanced diet is slightly different for everyone. E.g. someone with an active job or who exercises a lot will need far more energy than someone who does little movement day to day in comparison.
A 'balanced diet' contains the best ratio of nutrients to match your lifestyle.
You get nutrients from lots of different food groups. The proportions of each for the avarage person are shown in the pie chart below:
For every physical activity the body requires energy and the amount depends on the duration and type of activity.
- Energy is measured in kcal and is obtained from the body stores or the food we eat.
The body needs energy all the time even when we sleep. The basic energy needed to keep the body functioning is called the BMR
- Basal Metobolic Rate - (BMR) - the amount of energy our body needs to function and work if at rest.
Your BMR varies from person to person depending on a few factors.
The amount of activity you do. People who exercise regularly or are active generally have a higher BMR as there body works when they are at rest.
When your young you are still growing and have a higher BMR usually than adults
The bigger you are the more energy is required to keep the body functioning.
Males usually need more energy to function than females.
If you would like to calculate your BMR or if you are interested in calculating how many calories you burn each day have a look at the folowing sites.
Calories per hour site - fill in your detail to calculate your BMR
Sparkteens is a website to help you monitor your food intake and activity level. Free to join and can help if you want to look at monitoring a balanced diet.
The 7 components of a balanced diet
Remember Fat Men Can't Play Football Very Well
To function well the body needs all of these nutrients. Monitoring what you eat and making sure you get the right balance of each is essential to have a fit and healthy lifestyle.
Professional athletes pay special attention to the diet they eat to make sure they are fuelling their body properly and performing at their best.
You need more of some nutrients that others
Your body needs lots of Macro nutrients.
Macro nutrients provide your body with energy - They are:
We all need some fats in our diet!
Fats are also used for energy, but only when stores of carbohydrate run low.
- Fat provides very slowly released energy
Saturated fats (bad fats - avoid)
Excessive amounts of fat are found in saturated animal fats and trans-fatty acids. These types of fat raise cholesterol levels and increase your risk of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke and certain cancers.
Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and are found mainly in the following animal and dairy products:
- lard Eggs (yolks)
- full fat milk
- suet and dripping
- full fat yoghurt
Saturated fats are also found in hard margarines that are formed by the 'hydrogenation' of vegetable oils.
?Hydrogenation increases the shelf-life of food, but it also creates trans fats (trans-fatty acids) that are harmful for health. ?Hydrogenated margarine or butter is often used for making cakes, biscuits and pastry.
Unsaturated (Good fats)
Unsaturated fats are generally liquid at room temperature.?They come from vegetable sources and are also found in oily fish and in soft margarines labelled 'high in polyunsaturates'. ?Unsaturated fats contain essential fatty acids that cannot be manufactured by the body. This means you need to get them from food.
Good sources of unsaturated fats include:
- avocados (a quarter of avocado contains 5g of unsaturated fat)
- unsalted nuts (cashew, brazil, pecan, walnut)
- seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame).
Current advice is to eat oily fish two to three times a week. While oily fish is the best source of essential fatty acids, other omega-rich foods are:
- corn oil
- flaxseed oil
- nut oil
- safflower oil
- sunflower oil
- virgin olive oil.
- Proteins are used to generate energy only when the body has exhausted its stores of carbohydrates and fats.
Protein also allows us to grow and repair muscle
- Proteins are especially important for sports people who need to build up large, powerful muscles as they are used to repair muscles and soft tissue.
- Most important for sports people to have a high protein diet!
Sources of Protein
In terms of healthy eating, you should aim to eat a diet with a higher proportion of plant proteins than animal ones.
- Many animal proteins are high in saturated fat or cooked with a lot of fat (oil, lard, dripping).
- Studies have linked eating a lot of red and processed meat to an increased risk of bowel and stomach cancer.
- Plant-based proteins are low in fat and high in fibre, vitamins and minerals.
- Plant proteins contain phytochemicals that contribute towards health and disease prevention. For example, isoflavones found in soya beans have antioxidant properties, thought to be important in the prevention of cancer and menopausal symptoms.
Animal proteins contain all the essential amino acids. This type of protein is found in:
- dairy products.
- Oily fish (salmon, sardines, trout, tuna) is a good source of protein.
Oily fish contain up to eight times as much omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids as lean fish (cod, haddock, skate).
Plant protein contains many amino acids, but no single source contains all of the essential amino acids. This type of protein is found in:
- Legumes (peas, green beans)
- soya products
- vegetable protein foods, such as Quorn or veggie mince.
You need to combine different plant proteins to make up the complete range of amino acids needed by your body.
- Most important food type for athletes
- Carbs contain the fuels that provide us with energy to sustain our performance
- Glucose in the form of Glycogen is broken down from carbs to provide energy.
- Sugars - quick release (High instant energy - not so good for healthy diet)
- Complex - Slow release (good for consistent energy release & healthy diet)
- The pancreas gland in your abdomen secretes the hormone insulin, which controls the uptake of glucose by your cells.
- If you have any excess glucose, this is converted into glycogen ? which is stored in the liver or in fat around the body.
- When your body needs more energy, a second hormone called glucagon is secreted by the pancreas. This converts the glycogen back into glucose, which is then released into your bloodstream for your cells to use.
- This means the body's glucose (sugar) metabolism is a cycle of glucose, insulin and glucagon reactions.
- The slower the release of glucose and hormones, the more stable and sustainable the energy levels of the body.
- The more refined the carbohydrate, the faster the glucose is released into your blood. This can cause peaks and drops in your blood sugar level and less stable energy levels in the body.
- Complex carbohydrates provide a slower and more sustained release of energy than simple carbohydrates.
- In their natural form they contribute to long-term good health, appetite control and sustained energy levels
Complex carbohydrates are often referred to as starch or starchy foods. They are found naturally in foods and also refined in processed foods.
Complex carbohydrates as natural starches are found in:
- Brown rice
- Root vegetables
- Sweet corn
- Wholegrain cereals
- Wholemeal breads
- Wholemeal cereals
- Wholemeal flour
- Wholemeal pasta
Complex carbohydrates as refined starches are found in:
- Biscuits, pastries and cakes
- Sugary processed breakfast cereals
- White bread
- White flour
- White pasta
- White rice
Simple carbohydrates are also known as sugars. They also exist in either a natural or refined form.
Natural sugars are found in fruit and vegetables.
Refined sugars are found in:
- Biscuits, cakes and pastries
- Honey and jams
- Brown and white cane sugar
- Prepared foods and sauces
- Soft drinks
- Sweets and snack bars.
- Simple carbohydrates (sugar) cause tooth decay.
Your body needs Micro nutrients in small amounts but they are essential to keep healthy.
Macro nutrients are needed to make all the chemical reactions in the body and keep the body working properly - They are:
- help resist infection and disease
- regulate chemical reactions in the body
- help your bones, teeth, skin etc.. to grow
Needed in small quantities but are vital for the body
Help keep bones and teeth healthy and to build other tissue. Used in various chemical reactions.
Needed for strong bones and teeth and also used when muscles contract.
Found in dairy (milk, cheese etc..), green vegetables and some fish.
Used in red blood cells for oxygen to be carried around body.
Found in liver, beans and green vegetables.
Used by body to keep organs and systems working properly.
It is lost in your breath, sweat, urine and faeces!
You need to drink lots to replace the water your body looses or uses. If you don't you become dehydrated and your body doesn't work as well as it could. Exercise performance is impaired when an individual is dehydrated by as little as 2% of body weight. Losses in excess of 5% of body weight can decrease the capacity for work by about 30%
The main reasons dehydration has an adverse effect on exercise performance can be summarized as follows:
- Reduction in blood volume
- Decreased skin blood flow
- Decreased sweat rate
- Decreased heat dissipation
- Increased core temperature
- Increased rate of muscle glycogen use
Your body is around 60% water.
You only use fibre to keep your digestive system working properly. It is not absorbed by the body.
There is lots of fibre in fruit and vegetables.
Planning your meals
You shouldn't try not to eat for 2 hours before exercise and during exercise. This is because of blood shunting.
It is important to eat within an hour of exercise to help replenish nutrients and energy. Athletes also need to have high protein foods to help them start the repair process needed after training.
Athletes plan to eat small meals but regularly throughout the day to keep the body constantly supplied with nutrients and energy. They may try to eat every 3-4 hours when training.
Some endurance athletes or top competitors will eat small amounts of high energy foods as they play/ compete to help keep energy levels up. e.g. tennis players eating a banana between sets or cyclists having energy sachets during races.
Tips for healthy living
?Your daily diet should be a balance of carbohydrate and protein. As a guide, your plate should contain twice as many carbs as protein.
?Base each of your meals on a complex carbohydrate, such as potato, wholemeal bread or brown rice, and include vegetables. Finish the meal with fruit, and this should ensure you get a balance of complex and simple carbohydrates.
?Use high fibre wholegrain cereals as part of your breakfast, and use wholemeal bread for your toast.
?For lunch, choose lean protein, such as fish or chicken, with only a small amount of carbohydrate to get you through the afternoon.
?Large carbohydrate meals will make you slow and sleepy so save your big pasta meal for the evening.
?Cut down on the amount of refined white flour products in your diet, such as white bread, pizza and white pasta and rice. The refining process produces simple carbohydrates and many vitamins and minerals are lost.
?Fruit is naturally high in sugar, which means so are fruit juices and smoothies. In liquid form these sugars can damage your teeth. But these drinks count towards your five a day and contain fibre, vitamins and minerals. To avoid tooth decay, it's best to drink them with a meal.
When you exercise the body redirects blood around the body to increase the supply of oxygen to your working muscles.
Blood is diverted away from some organs, including your digestive.
You digestive system doesn't work well without a good blood supply. If you eat before or during exercise your more likely to get indigestion, cramp or feel sick.
Endurances athletes use carbo-loading in preparation for races or events. They do this by eating low carbohydrate foods but high in protein for 3-4 days 1 week before their big event. This will allow the body to repair fully and recover from all training. 3-4 days before the final event they will eat high carbohydrate foods such as pasta. This raises the glycogen stores in the liver and muscles. High levels of glycogen is stored as the body is shocked into storing as much energy as possible as it didn't get much carbohydrate earlier in the week. This energy will then be stored for the big event.
Diet for sport
Someone training or taking part regularly in sport should have a higher protein rich diet than the average person. This is to help their body repair after exercise and can also be used to supply energy if needed.
Follow 40 ? 40 - 20 rule
40% Carbohydrates (complex)
40% Protein (low fat)
20% Fats (mostly the good kind)