Whether you are an elite or lifestyle athlete, the best possible performance is important in your sport and training regime. But so is optimum recovery. Just as nutrition is key to sports performance; it also plays an essential role in how well and how quickly you recover from your exertions. It becomes even more important to focus on sports recovery during the upcoming summer months, when there’s a natural increase in outdoor activity. A basic understanding of the nutritional requirements for athletes can empower you to manage your sports recovery in simple and undemanding ways.
Repetitive exercise or long exercise sessions decrease the stores of energy in your body. If these are not adequately replenished, it will lead to fatigue and poorer performance. Regular physical activity also triggers muscle breakdown, both during and after exercise. This is why your nutritional intake; before, during and after sports activity, is essential to maintaining hydration and energy levels, preventing muscle loss and enhancing muscle repair. How you manage your nutrition also determines how resilient you are when it comes to protecting yourself from injury. It may come as a surprise, but scientific studies show that flavoured milk and yoghurt drinks are ideal for sports recovery.
According to Rediscover Dairy, the Consumer Education Project of Milk SA, dairy, as an alternative sports drink, has a unique nutritional profile:
- Carbohydrates boost energy stores and help combat fatigue
- Protein supports muscle recovery
- Potassium, magnesium and sodium replace electrolytes lost through sweating
- Calcium builds and maintains strong bones
- Fluid rehydrates
“In comparison to conventional sports drinks, it is the composition of flavoured milk which contains both carbohydrates and protein, in an ideal ratio that offers optimal sports enhancing qualities,” says sports dietitian, Nicki de Villiers. “However, across the dairy options for sports recovery, which also includes fat free and low fat milk, as well as drinking yoghurts, it is the unique availability of high quality protein (whey and casein) that ensures your body can optimally refuel and repair. Getting your timing right is also important. Within 30 minutes after a workout or a sports event, drinking a glass of milk, flavoured milk or drinking yogurt will ensure that you refuel, rehydrate and repair optimally.”
Sports recovery nutrition is equally important for the junior athletes in the family, who will no doubt be spending a lots more active time outdoors during the upcoming summer holidays. Remember that you can make your own flavoured milks by quickly blending combinations of vanilla extract, cocoa powder, natural sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup, and a wide variety of summer fruits including berries, bananas, mangoes and stone fruits with milk.
To learn more about the role of milk in sports nutrition, visit: https://www.rediscoverdairy.co.za/dairy-and-sport-2/