Use it or Lose it!

You need to keep that body moving so it knows it’s still alive.  If you don’t, your body slowly deteriorates from lack of use, making you vulnerable to various ailments and injuries.  The main reward we look forward to when getting old and retiring is the ability to enjoy that new-found freedom.  Think of all the fun things you’re finally going to get to do once you are no longer burdened by the strappings and restrictions that are part of having a job!  But do you want to spend those “senior” years dependent on drugs, doctors & hospitals within close proximity to keep you a few feet above the grave, while your lifelong, hard-earned savings are used to pay for those services?

There are many recommendations out there advising as to how many days and hours per week a person should work out.  But the reality is we don’t all like exercise that much (myself included), so it’s discouraging to even attempt such regimens.  A more realistic and achievable goal is to just stay active as part of your daily life by finding physical activities you enjoy that keep your body moving every week.  Try to find an exercise program offered by your city that you can attend for an hour or so at least once a week while incorporating other active habits into your lifestyle such as walking, jogging & cycling every week.  Be warned, if you don’t keep active regularly and you suddenly decide to do something physical, you are much more likely to get injured.  And the older you are, the longer is takes to heal, as we all find out sooner or later.

Here are some nutritional facts and the body’s requirements when exercising:

  • Drink lots of water, urine should be light-coloured, not dark
  • Carbs replenish energy while protein aids muscle repair: choose foods containing a 3 to 1 ratio of carbs to protein
  • Carbohydrates are the most important workout nutrient: before, during & after exercise, they provide vitamins, minerals and fibre and are easily converted to glucose; you need 30-60g of carbs per hour of exercise
  • Choose nutrient-dense carbs from fruits, veggies and whole grains, not sugar or baked goods as excess carbs are easily converted to fat
    • Beet Juice opens up blood vessels and is a source of carbs for energy while also reducing systolic blood pressure
  • Fat can be an energy source in long-duration moderate-energy sports but not readily accessible when sprinting or weight training
    • “Alpha Energy” generates fat-free fuel for your body
  • For light activity, you need 4-5g of carbs per kilo of body weight
  • For enducance training or moderate activity, you need 7-8g
  • For extreme or intense training, you need 8-12g
    • 2 grams of ginger after vigorous exercise reduces muscle aches
  • sweating causes sodium & electrolytes to wash out
  • hydration requires water & sodium
    • sodium-enriched Coconut Water is as effective as commercial sports drinks while also a good source of potassium, calcium and magnesium
  • After an hour or two of exercise, replace lost electrolytes with a sports drink or a banana
  • Within 2 hours after a workout, reboot your glycogen with 100-150g of carbs with protein to help the recovery and repair process.  Vitamin B is also essential for this process
    • fresh Orange Juice provides quick carb glucose to help recover from exercise
  • Protein is a building block for muscle.  Best sources include whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts & seeds or protein powder
  • Take a protein powder before and after exercise to promote strength and muscularity, stabilize blood sugar levels and encourage fat loss.  Vegans can use Potato Protein Isolate (instead of Whey Protein) for muscle synthesis, fatigue and muscle recovery.
  • Good post-workout foods include dark chocolate, plant-based milk & cheese, crackers, peanut butter, banana, soy yogurt and fruit
    • tart Cherry Juice helps lower inflammation to reduce muscle pain
    • Lemon Verbena Extract is anti-inflammatory and decreases muscle soreness while improving recovery time
  • Watercress is a source of protein and contains anti-oxidants that protect the body from damage caused by free-radicals produced during intense exercise
    • apples with the peel provide antioxidant activity that reduces muscle strain and injury