Nutrition for Swimmers
Nutrition for swimmers will involve a healthy eating plan that entails choosing foods that specifically address athletic nutritional needs. The needs of swimmers are similar to levels of nutrition required for runners, dancers and other athletes.
Athletes need a combination of power, strength, speed and endurance. They burn energy very fast and so need a lot of calories and energy to work with. Carbohydrates are needed by swimmers in huge quantities. These are stored as glycogen in the body.
When athletes swim, they do so with great intensity and speed, and because the sessions are usually about a few minutes, the body draws energy from the carbohydrates stored as glycogen very quickly, and uses it as fuel for movement. The quick bursts of energy also mean that the muscles contract and expand rapidly, taking the body quickly from aerobic to anaerobic training mode.
When addressing nutrition for swimmers and their needs, it is important to note that less oxygen is available during anaerobic training, forcing the body to use up some of the proteins in the muscle (the only way protein is stored is in the muscles). This is why nutrition for runners and swimmers centres around a lot of carbohydrates and proteins as fuel before, during and after training and events.
Breaking this down further, carbohydrates must be an essential part of nutrition for runners, swimmers and athletes in general, as they act as fuel reserve before a swim or run, and proteins as muscle mass before. They also need proteins as soon as possible after, to facilitate muscle and tissue repairs, and carbohydrates to restore depleted energy stores.
After exercise or events, it is also important to take more carbohydrates and protein to restore glycogen stores and start muscle repair.
Nutrition for swimmers should include digestible carbohydrates that’ll keep during exercise that lasts a while. This fresh intake ensures that the intensity of exercise is not reduced and that there is enough fuel for the exercise. More so for training and events which usually last for hours, as the body needs a steady supply of energy for the length of the training period.
When focusing on the requirements of nutrition for runners, swimmers and dancers, do remember that a vast majority of our body mass is water. Water is an essential component of an athlete, so adequate intake of water, before, during and after exercise is just as vital to the swimmer as the foods consumed as well.
Water helps prevent clotting of blood and also prevents de-hydration, during and after exercise. It is important for the swimmer to take water regularly, after every 20 minutes of training or exercise to maintain fluids in the system and avoid dehydration.
Although water is not a nutrient, water must be a major part of any discussion that focuses on nutrition for swimmers, runners, dancers and other athletes. Water helps to maintain balance in the body, helps to facilitate digestion from the food nutrition.
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