It’s important for every person to understand how nutrition affects physical performance. Your body is depending on you to supply it with the necessary raw materials to conduct its countless everyday functions.
Understanding the link between athletic performance and nutrition is even more essential when you’re an athlete. After all, athletes tend to burn more calories than the average person. For instance, Olympic cyclists can consume 8,000 calories or more on a long-distance ride. The more you demand from it, the more careful you must be about your nutritional strategies. Read on to learn more about this vital connection.
The nutrition you need for stronger athletic performance
Just as cars require fuel, oils, additives and electricity for smooth operation, your body needs a mix of several different types of nutrients. These nutrients are grouped into two primary categories: macronutrients and micronutrients. Within these two categories, there are many nutrients that are vital to improved athletic performance.
Some of these nutrients include:
- Carbohydrates — There are three nutrients that are directly involved in providing the body with energy. The body uses carbs first, since they burn most readily. This makes them an important fuel for both short-burst activities and endurance training.
- Proteins — Proteins are made up of 20 essential amino acids, and they’re also the building blocks of muscles, including the heart.
- Fats — Fats are stored as a reserve fuel supply. But they’re also vital to brain health, inflammation management, hormone production and joint lubrication.
- Vitamins and minerals — These nutrients fall into the micronutrient category. They’re vital for many reasons. Some minerals regulate each other’s actions, such as sodium and potassium or calcium and magnesium. The body also requires trace minerals such as copper, selenium and chromium. Among the vitamins, athletes flock to B-complex vitamins because of their ability to increase energy availability. You also need a mix of vitamins A, C, E, K and others to keep your body functioning.
Why nutrition should be a part of your physical therapy plan
The wrong nutritional balances can sabotage your physical function in all kinds of ways. If you’re neglecting your carbs before an endurance event, your body may start burning fat as fuel. It might also burn proteins, depriving you of muscle power. This is one reason why your physical therapist makes a point of addressing nutritional practices as part of your training or physical therapy program.
Other benefits that better nutrition can bring to your physical therapy plan include:
- Enhancing healing
- Improving physical function
- Reducing inflammation and pain
- Increasing endurance and available energy
Need help boosting your athletic performance? Armor Physical Therapy can help!
Are you looking to give your personal vehicle what it needs as you train for an event or complete a course of physical therapy? Our physical therapy specialists at Armor Physical Therapy can help you. We offer free screenings designed to pinpoint issues that are reducing your athletic performance. In addition, our team excels at building personalized therapy and training plans intended to boot your performance and reduce your risk of injuries.
Don’t have time to come to an in-person appointment? That’s OK! We also offer virtual care and at-home therapy sessions that you can do from home, and these options can save you time and help you get the care you need. Even better, you don’t have to get a doctor’s referral before you begin physical therapy with us.
Take the next step toward boosting your athletic performance. Contact us today for more information about how we can help you or to schedule your free screening.