Runner’s Body: The Nutrients You Need To Perfect Your Stride

No two bodies are the same, therefore it’s natural that our dietary needs are unique to the individual. For example, women’s nutrition is different to men’s because their bodies require different amounts of vitamins and minerals to perform their functions. The same is true between runners and non-runners. Once you take up this intense activity, you need to adjust your diet to make sure you’re giving your body the fuel it needs to perform well. If you keep eating the same diet as before, you’re likely not consuming enough nutrients and your runner’s stride will never improve. Here is the right diet to boost your energy levels.

 

Vitamin B12

Taking 2.4 mg per day can help runners break down the fat and protein you eat for the energy you need to get through a workout. It also assists in forming new red blood cells, which carry oxygen through the body. Deficiency can lead to a type of anemia—and fatigue. The best sources of vitamin B12 are liver, fish, meat, and eggs, which unfortunately means that strict vegetarians and vegans are at a higher risk for deficiency. Fortunately, there are supplements like methylcobalamin or cyanocobalamin which can be taken to fill the nutritional gaps. Always consult your doctor before taking any supplements.

Calcium

Runners put a lot of stress on their bodies, and as a result they are at risk of stress fractures and other running injuries. Therefore, you need to make sure your bones are strong and healthy before you start running. Most people start taking calcium supplements, some of which are made from limestone or marble. However, AlgaeCal Plant Calcium Clinical Evidence suggests that plant based calcium supplements are more effective at filling in the calcium deficiency gaps, and they don’t have side effects like cramps, bloating, nausea and blocked arteries, but still help strengthen bones. Always consult your doctor about which supplements would be best for you.  That said, you’re still better off getting calcium from your food. One cup of milk packs about 30 percent of your daily value, although fortified almond, or cashew milk offer a more impressive 45 percent. You can also get calcium from tofu, spinach, and chia seeds.

Iron

Some studies suggest that up to 50 percent of female runners are deficient in iron. This is extremely dangerous because the iron in your blood is essential for getting oxygen to your muscles; this deficiency can lead to poor performance while running, headaches, dizziness, and less enthusiasm for running. If you experience a decline in performance and feel exhausted more than usual, get a blood test to check your iron levels. While you could take a supplement, you need to increase the amount of red meat and iron-rich vegetables in your diet. If you’re still deficient after your diet change, your doctor will put you on the appropriate supplement; you should never try to put yourself on an iron supplement. You should also try taking Vitamin C to help your body absorb the iron.

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

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