This is the time of year when most of us increase our activity levels by playing sports or starting a new exercise regime! It is important when being physically active to have your body at optimal health. Taking the right supplements can help you achieve this. This also applies to anyone who is trying to lose weight or who has an active lifestyle and does not want to burn out. Certain supplements can also help increase energy, protect our joints and speed up our recovery times.
Maintaining energy levels is important during exercise, as well as after exercising. If you feel burnt out after a workout, the probability of continuing with it decreases dramatically.
One simple way to increase energy is to take a B-complex. A B-complex is a supplement that contains all of the B vitamins in one capsule. The B vitamins are, B1, B2, Niacinamide (B3), B5, B6, Biotin (B7), Folic acid (B9), and B12. As you can see some go by the number and other B vitamins are known by their name. B vitamins help increase energy if it is low. This is often seen with low B6, B5, and B12 levels.
B vitamins are also related to cortisol levels. If your stress hormone, cortisol, is low you will have very low energy and no luck losing weight. It becomes low by having a very stressful life or a period of high stress. Low cortisol is presented as, fatigue, weight gain or difficulty losing, headaches, cravings, low libido, or insomnia. This can be treated by using Adaptogenic herbs which balance out cortisol! Adaptogens are mostly sold in combinations of multiple herbs. It is important to consult a professional when taking these because they are highly interactive with many medications and conditions.
Recovery and Joint Health
The second step in sports medicine is minimizing recovery time, repairing muscles, and decreasing inflammation caused by exercise.
L-glutamine is an amino acid sold at health food stores. Amino acids are the building blocks that make up proteins. Your muscles tear while exercising and L-glutamine speeds up recovery time by helping to repair muscle damage after working out. Body builders have been using L-glutamine for years but it is helpful to any fitness level
Creatine is also a very useful supplement when trying to build muscle mass and endurance. It has been studied multiple times and has been shown to help in building muscle. During exercise it will help build up the muscle that is being used at a faster rate than normal! Taking creatine also decreases any muscle wasting that might occur. Muscle wasting happens during time periods when you can’t exercise, due to illness or other life situations.
Decreasing inflammation in muscle and joints can be achieved by many different supplements. Fish oils are a very good example of a natural anti-inflammatory. Fish oils decrease inflammation throughout the entire body as well as help lubricate the joints for proper functioning. It is important to keep healthy joints because these are the most common injuries in sports medicine. Fish oils also have many other health benefits not related to sports medicine. These include; mental health, hormone heath (endocrine system) and cardiovascular health.
These are just a few examples of how taking supplements can help you achieve optimal health when exercising or playing sports. There are also many more supplements that can be taken depending on different body types or concerns. In addition to supplements it is most important to maintain a healthy diet and stay well hydrated!
All of these supplements can be found in your local Natural Health Food Store. If you are ready to try any of these treatments please consult a Naturopathic Doctor or Natural Health Product Advisor. They can help you with doses and ensure any of your medications won’t interact with the treatments, as well as make an individual plan for you.
This column is sponsored by Good 'n' Natural in Steinbach.