September 3, 2019
For Women’s Health Week we have a blog by Dr Dominique Condo, Lecturer in Sports Nutrition, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University. Dominique was asked to give nutrition and health tips for women involved in sports and exercise.
Her top 5 tips are:
- Fuel for your sport. This involves eating good sources of energy (healthy carbohydrates) 2-3 hours before your exercise. This time frame allows the food to be digested and nutrients to be used for performance.
- Recovery adequately. This includes having a good source of protein (such as a dairy based protein) within 30-60 mins after exercise, as well as a good source of carbohydrate to replenish glycogen stores.
- Hydrate well. If active, the minimum to aim for should be 2 litres per day. Athletes often require additional fluids for hydration, such as electrolytes or sports drinks. This should be based around individual requirements and sports.
- Prioritise sleep. As busy women we often compromise sleep for everything else we do in life. However, sleep is essential for wellbeing and performance- it can be an athlete’s secret weapon. Instead of aiming for a specific number (that can seem quite unrealistic for some) aim for an extra 30-60 mins of sleep per night as even this will have benefit.
- Listen to yourself and know your body. Many active females often ignore fatigue, thinking it is due to the training loads. However, many may not be eating sufficient energy to support their activity and lifestyle. Be aware of how you feel, concentration levels, mood and menstrual function as changes to these things could indicate low energy availability and be a sign that you need to focus on fuelling, recovery, hydration and/or sleep.