Nutrition for Physical Activity

by : News Canada

Q: I am physically active, but do not always eat a well balanced diet. How can I improve my overall nutrition to complement my active lifestyle? Samara Felesky-Hunt, a registered dietitian in Calgary, provides advice:

A: Good nutrition plays an important role in exercise performance. The recommended diet for active individuals, at all fitness levels, is a high carbohydrate diet containing adequate protein, vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and fluids. Carbohydrates are the primary energy source for exercising muscles. The more vigorous the exercise, the more carbohydrate is required to fuel the activity.

Use Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating to figure out how to balance your food choices for your age, sex and activity level. Enjoy a wide variety of carbohydrates such as whole grains, breads, cereals, fruits and vegetables. As protein and mineral needs are also important, choose lower fat dairy products, legumes, nuts, eggs and leaner meats. Regular exercise may increase the loss of some minerals and alter the needs for certain vitamins. To ensure you meet your daily quota of vitamins and minerals, be sure to vary your food choices.

Due to hectic lifestyles, it can be a challenge to obtain your nutritional needs on a daily basis. I recommend that active individuals take a daily multivitamin, such as Centrum?, and eat well-rounded healthy meals to support their nutritional needs. Centrum? contains the essential vitamins and minerals necessary to maintain good health and to meet the needs of physical activity.