We all know that eating well and working out are essential to good health – and this couldn't be more true for people with SCI. Numerous SCI studies show that including certain nutrients in your diet and getting physically active 3-4 times a week can help improve your strength and endurance, reduce pain and depression, prevent the development of conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as well as keep you looking good, feeling great, enhance your independence and overall quality of life! So in this article I'm going to show you how easy it is to eat well, get active and stay healthy!
Here are some tips for what you should eat for the following types of exercise;
1. Strength training - when doing strength training exercises,
your body has greater protein requirements in order to help build and repair muscle.
Eat 20 to 30 grams of whey protein 30-60 min. after working out
A whey protein smoothie is a fast, easy and delicious way to do this -1 scoop of whey protein equals approx. 25 grams of protein
2. Aerobic training - the preferred energy source for any cardiovascular exercise is carbohydrates. To help prevent
fatigue and replenish energy stores:
Eat approx. 30 grams of complex carbohydrates 1 hour before exercising
If working out intensely, eat 50-70 grams of carbohydrates 30-60 min. after working out.
A healthy complex carbohydrates sources include oatmeal, whole grain bread, sweet potatoes, low sugar energy bars and bran muffins.
3. Good fats and water are also critical to optimize both types of exercise. Good Fats help to:
Increase delivery of oxygen and nutrients to muscles
Increase aerobic metabolism
Reduce inflammation and tissues/muscle, therefore helping to speed recovery time after weight training
Good fat sources include fish, avocados, nuts and seeds. Omega-3 fatty acid supplements are another great source.
Delivers required nutrients, oxygen and hormones to cells
Helps regulate body temperature
Reduces risk of dehydration
Drink at least 6-8 cups of water, herbal teas a day.
Below is an example of a weekly physical activity schedule, (these guidelines were created specifically for people with SCI by SCI Action Canada) and some recommended foods to help you optimize your workouts. Enjoy and have fun!