THE RUNDOWN: Nutrition and Fitness Tips for Runners and WalkersPublished by Yvelette Stines on Wednesday, August 10, 2011 at 11:00 am.
As we step into the heart of running and walking season, many are lacing up to train for races. Before hitting the trails, it’s important to hit the kitchen. Runners and walkers tend to use more carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and mineral. Leading national nutrition expert and author Elisa Zied, M.S., R.D., C.D.N. provides vital nutrition information that can make or break a workout.
In her book, Nutrition at Your Fingertips, Zied offers practical, easy-to-follow advice on eating a balanced diet. She teaches readers how to make realistic, sustainable, and enjoyable nutrition and lifestyle habits a part of their lives in a way that suits personal needs and goals. As an avid walker, Zied shares with readers the importance of combining healthful nutrition habits and food choices with regular, consistent exercise and physical activity.
Check out some of the tips from her book:
1. Since carbohydrates are the best source of energy for all of us–especially athletes–about 45-65 percent of total caloric intake should come from carbohydrate-rich foods. Carbohydrates provide both quick and long lasting energy, and our bodies can use them more efficiently than proteins or fats. High fiber whole grains (such as oatmeal, whole wheat pasta and breads, and brown or wild rice), fruits, beans and other vegetables are all healthful sources.
2. Twenty to 35 percent of a runner’s or walker’s diet should come from healthy fats. During exercise, muscles rely on fats for energy after the energy from carbohydrates has been depleted. Try to limit intake of foods high in saturated or trans fats, or cholesterol, as they can contribute to a host of health problems. Cold-water fatty fish, some oils (like canola and soybean), walnuts, flaxseeds, and tofu provide essential omega-3 fats that have been linked to disease prevention.
3. The body uses protein to repair tissue damaged during training, and protein-rich foods supply us with much needed energy. Protein should comprise about 10-35 percent of a runner’s or walker’s daily intake. Use caution with protein rich foods, because they can be high in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. Choose lean meats and poultry, fish, low fat dairy products, beans, nuts, and seeds.
4. Vitamins and minerals don’t provide energy, but they are still vital to the health of runners and walkers alike. Eating a well-balanced diet that provides a combination of foods and beverages from all the food groups should cover dietary needs for most people, though some may need to consider supplementation depending on their specific needs, age and stage of life.
5. It’s critical to stay adequately hydrated, especially before, during, and after your run or walk. Don’t use thirst as your guide. If your urine is pale in color, that’s one indicator you’re adequately hydrated.
Are you a runner or walker?