What Nutritional Choices Should Runners Make to Help Them “Stay Regular?”

by Tara Postnikoff

Consuming dietary fibre will help runners have regular daily bowel movements. Fibre can help normalize bowel movements and provides the bulk to keep them well-formed (not too loose and not too hard).

What foods contain fibre?
Fibre is a component of carbohydrates that provides little caloric value or energy as it passes through the digestive tract without being absorbed. It is commonly found in the skins of fruits and vegetables and the outer coat of grains, lentils, legumes, nuts and seeds. One of the main benefits of fibre is promoting a healthy colon and good intestinal function. Fibre also helps with the elimination of waste products from the body and promotes a healthy gut biome by giving the “good” gut bacteria something to feed on. Continue reading “What Nutritional Choices Should Runners Make to Help Them “Stay Regular?””

Muscle Strains

The body has hundreds of muscles of  various types—slow twitch, fast twitch, skeletal, smooth and cardiac, to name a few. Muscles provide their power by contracting and relaxing, thereby generating a force that causes movement. Running muscles require a strong anchor (where one end of the muscle attaches to a bone or ligament) and the other end of the muscle connects to the flexible part of the limb. When that muscle contracts or shortens, movement of the joint is produced.

The science behind this muscle contraction and relaxation is very complex. It involves proteins called actin and myosin, along with various other elements including calcium, potassium, sodium and water. This is why it is so important to supply the fuel (water, electrolytes, etc.) for the muscles to work while you are training. Continue reading “Muscle Strains”

Nutrition Tips For Destination Races

by Lisa Podlecki

Racing in a different city or town can be exciting—however, changes to your food choices or eating schedule can lead to stomach issues and under-fuelling. With a bit of planning and preparation, you can optimize your fueling strategy and be prepared to perform your best on race day.

Before You Go
During the week leading up to your departure, do some advance research. If travelling on a plane, check if food and drink will be allowed onboard. Re-read the details of your accommodations to confirm if breakfast is included. If yes, see when it is served and if this aligns with your pre-race schedule. Find out what kinds of items will be provided, particularly if you have allergies or specific dietary needs. Do an online search to locate the nearest restaurants and grocery stores. Continue reading “Nutrition Tips For Destination Races”

Summer Play

Family members of all ages thrive on unstructured “playtime.” This is especially true for Canadian families, as longer days bring extended outdoor play hours. Here are some ideas to help your family get moving and play together this summer:

Active Training. If you missed out on a community run/walk or charity event in the spring, consider signing up for one. Take the family to a free all-ages event like the Running Room 20 Minute Challenge— it might be the springboard for a more active summer ahead. Continue reading “Summer Play”

Are there any food choices that can supply some natural anti-inflammatory benefits for runners?

Exercise creates inflammation in the body, through the act of doing work and producing heat. Runners also have the effect of the impact of our feet striking the ground. In moderate amounts, inflammation a good thing, as it stimulates healthy immune responses in the body that actually make our cells stronger and more prepared to protect themselves. However, repeated long duration exercise, coupled with other environmental and internal stressors, can have the opposite effect and actually contribute to the breakdown of the body tissues Continue reading “Are there any food choices that can supply some natural anti-inflammatory benefits for runners?”

Running with Asthma: Using the Air Quality Health Index to Plan the Perfect Time to Be Outside

Having asthma or another respiratory condition doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy exercise, reach your fitness goals, or even become a champion. But it does mean paying close attention to your body and the main triggers of symptoms, such as outdoor air conditions.

And the best way to do that is by checking the Air Quality Health Index, or AQHI.

The AQHI assigns a rating between 1 and 10 for the air quality in your region: the higher the number, the greater the risk. People with asthma and other health conditions often experience more severe symptoms — issues like wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, or irritated eyes and throat. But even people who are otherwise healthy can feel the effects of air pollution (and especially when poor air quality combines with extreme heat). Continue reading “Running with Asthma: Using the Air Quality Health Index to Plan the Perfect Time to Be Outside”

Arthritis and Running

We’ve invited readers to send in topic suggestions for this column, and we received this question from David: “Is it possible to run or jog when one has a chronic and painful condition of the knee, like arthritis?”

To begin, there are many causes for “arthritis.” I’m using quotation marks since the patient has to be satisfied that the diagnosis of arthritis is correct in the first place. Arthritis of the knee should definitely be confirmed before any alterations of activity or lifestyle are made. Continue reading “Arthritis and Running”

Eating Well as a Vegetarian Athlete

by Lisa Podlecki

Athletes may choose to eat vegetarian or vegan for a variety of reasons, such as environmental considerations, animal welfare, personal preference, and/or religion. While eating a well-balanced vegetarian diet can have a number of positive health outcomes—including lower risk of heart disease, diabetes and hypertension—athletes may also believe that becoming vegetarian may be a way to lose weight, improve their performance and help with recovery. As with any diet, cutting out a particular food group can result in insufficient calorie and nutrient intake, which may lead to potential nutritional deficiencies and decreased performance. With the proper guidance, however, vegetarian athletes can be just as strong and healthy!

Continue reading “Eating Well as a Vegetarian Athlete”

Are processed meat-alternatives good replacements for those looking to limit or avoid animal protein?

by Tara Postnikoff

There are many meat-alternative products on the market today, with brand names like Beyond Meat, Tofurky and Boca Burger. For people looking to remove animal products from their current diet, these types of products are offered as a substitute for burgers, ground meats, deli meats and other traditional meat products.

As with conventional packaged meats, many meat-alternative products are heavily processed. Unfortunately, pre-packaged products tend to be high in sodium, preservatives and artificial flavours and thus should be eaten sparingly. For a balanced diet, choose foods that are as minimally processed as possible. Continue reading “Are processed meat-alternatives good replacements for those looking to limit or avoid animal protein?”

Four Ways to Boost Your Family’s Activity Level

by Don Zabloski

When it comes to being active as a family, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy. Every family is unique and will make active choices that work for them. Some families may thrive on friendly competition, while others prefer not to keep score. One family may choose to devote themselves to a beloved sport, while another finds that they thrive in a variety of activities. Here are some active suggestions to try on for size with your team.

1. Tackle a new challenge
Trying something completely new can be energizing. It could be learning to cross-country ski on a nature trail or working up the courage to jump off the diving board at the community pool. Brainstorm activities you’ve never tried but always wanted to—how about bowling, archery, mini-golf or trampolining? Spend a weekend afternoon at the local recreation centre as a family, experiencing all that it has to offer for adults and kids alike. Or, head outside to the local park for a walk, run, hike or scavenger hunt. Continue reading “Four Ways to Boost Your Family’s Activity Level”