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Why You Need an Individually Tailored Scientific Nutrition Plan
Everyone is an Athlete!
“Everyone is an athlete. The only difference is that some of us are in training, and some are not.” George Sheehan, physician, writer, and running philosopher, eloquently expressed the notion that the human body is made to be active and that people have different reasons and motivations for being physically active, exercising, or participating in sport. Athletes with this single-minded goal make up a very small percentage of the population especially in a country like India where for various reasons our country has woefully inadequate athletes. But the popularity of Marathon running is increasing exponentially in cities like Mumbai and a large number of men and women taking up this form athletic activity seriously. Athletes at the highest level usually pursue their performance goals for a short amount of time relative to their lifespan. Few athletes remain highly competitive in their sports over a large portion of their lifetime.
Many adults who exercise fall into the category of recreational athletes. Some may be former competitive athletes who continue to have a lifelong dedication to perform at the highest level they can achieve and who remain competitive within their age group in masters events. For other former athletes, participation rather than competition may be the motivation, particularly as they get older or have less leisure time to devote to training. Some recreational athletes are not former competitive athletes; they take up a sport as an adult and set a personal performance goal, such as running a marathon or scoring less than 100 in a round of golf. Recreational athletes may train or practice their sport, but the intensity and duration of training can vary tremendously. In addition to the benefits of participating and competing in sports, recreational athletes also benefit from increased fitness that contributes to good health and the possible prevention of chronic diseases.
What is Physical Activity
While some adults are not recreational athletes, they do engage in routine physical activity. Physical activity is defined as bodily movement that results in an increase in energy expenditure above resting levels. The motivation to engage in physical activity varies, but typically the reasons include improving health, “staying in shape,” maintaining or losing weight, and enhancing appearance. Physically active people have many of the same goals as recreational athletes, such as improved fitness, good health, and disease prevention, but they are not performing or competing against others.
There is a relationship between exercise and nutrition for physically active people and recreational athletes, but because training is less than that of highly trained athletes
some of the nutritional demands (e.g., caloric intake) are less. Physically active people typically need little modification of the principles of a healthy diet to support their physical activity. Similarly, the intensity and duration of training for most recreational athletes are not enough to require substantial modifications to a basic healthy diet. One exception may be the recreational endurance athlete whose intensity and duration of training (e.g., preparation for a marathon) necessitates the implementation of some of sports nutrition principles.
Why You Must be Physically Active
Because “everyone is an athlete,” it is important that all people be physically active on a daily or near daily basis. Exercise is one cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle; diet is another. There is a strong relationship between nutrition, physical activity, and long-term health, and a number of public health organizations have issued nutrition and physical activity guidelines. Many students reading this textbook will eventually work with clients who are trying to apply these recommendations. In many cases, these clients or patients will have a history of being sedentary and consuming a poor diet. Working with a sedentary, overweight, or obese adult who consumes the typical fast food diet is a tremendous challenge because the need to change is high but the motivation to change is often low or hard to sustain. Changes are especially difficult because the environment and culture in the Western countries and now in India’s urban centres promote physical inactivity and over consumption of energy (kcal), sugar, fat, and salt.
What I am stressing here is that a fundamental dietary principle—adequate nutrients within caloric need—applies to everyone regardless of whether you are an athlete or someone just trying to keep in shape. Daily exercise is a powerful influence on the amount of kilocalories needed and the amount of daily exercise performed often changes as people age. Each has different goals, Demands, and motivations and therefore different needs. All can benefit from the application of scientifically sound nutrition and exercise information. Which is why if you are involved in moderate to intense physical activity on a daily basis then you must have a scientific nutrition plan individually mapped out to sync with your environmental, cultural, food and lifestyle schedule.
Note: Feel free to republish this article on your own blog or website but please copy paste the below ‘Author Credits’ and include it at the bottom of your post or page. Thank you.
Dr. Sunita Banerji received her MBBS degree from The Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, one of India’s leading Medical Institutes and received her DGO credentials in Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1982. She started her successful Aesthetic Medicine practice in Lokhandwala, in 1989 after undergoing extensive training in London. She was far ahead of her time in starting this type of practice in India. Eternesse – the Best Nutritionist Skin and Fat Specialist Mumbai - her brainchild helps treat major medical problems related to lifestyle, aging and cosmetic treatments and surgery.
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