Supplements

Supplements; are exactly that. They should be used to supplement a healthy diet. My biggest issue with exercising more has been sore tendons in my knees, I carried out some research. Here's my findings:

Ligaments connect bone to bone while tendons connect muscle to bone. Active people are prone to ligament and tendon damage due to the stresses of physical activity, especially repetitive motions. Vitamins and minerals have essential roles in tissue repair, including to ligaments and tendons.

Protein is an important building block for many tissues in your body, including muscle. After a sports injury, the injured body part is often immobilized. This generally leads to a decline in strength and muscle mass therefore getting enough protein helps minimise this loss. Furthermore, a protein-rich diet may help prevent inflammation from getting too bad and slowing down recovery. Moreover, slightly increasing your protein intake once you start training the injured body part again helps you rebuild any lost muscle. For all these reasons, make sure to include protein-rich foods like meat, fish, poultry, tofu, beans, peas, nuts or seeds in your daily menu. Research shows that spreading your protein intake equally over four meals may stimulate muscle growth more than an uneven distribution. Experts also suggest that eating a protein-rich snack before bed may help enhance your body's muscle-building process while you sleep. Eating protein-rich foods at every meal and snack may help prevent muscle loss following an injury. Protein-rich foods may also help you regain muscle mass faster once you return to training.

To prevent weight gain in the event of injury resulting in unwanted body fat, it's important to compensate by eating slightly less. One way to reduce your calorie intake is to consume a diet rich in fibre. This, along with consuming the protein-rich foods mentioned above, will help you eat less without feeling hungry. That's because fibre-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains help promote feelings of fullness after meals. As an added bonus, fibre-rich foods tend to be high in several other nutrients essential for your recovery, including vitamin C, magnesium and zinc. However restricting calories too severely can reduce wound healing and promote muscle loss, both of which negatively affect recovery. Consuming fiber-rich foods while recovering from an injury can be an effective strategy to limit the gain of unwanted body fat. Vitamin C helps your body make collagen, which helps maintain the integrity of your bones, muscles, skin and tendons. Therefore, getting enough vitamin C from your diet is a great way to help your body rebuild tissue after an injury. Moreover, vitamin C has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which may help speed up your recovery by preventing excessive levels of inflammation. Foods with the highest amounts of it include citrus fruits, red and yellow bell peppers, dark leafy greens, kiwi, broccoli, berries, tomatoes, mango and papaya. However, it's currently unclear whether supplements provide any benefits for those already getting enough vitamin C from their diet. Nevertheless, the small number of people who can't consume enough vitamin C-rich foods may want to consider taking supplements. Vitamin-C rich foods can help your body produce the collagen that's required to rebuild tissue after an injury. It can also help prevent excessive inflammation from slowing down your recovery. After an injury, the first phase of wound healing always involves some inflammation. This inflammatory response is beneficial and needed for proper healing. However, if this inflammation remains too high for too long, it may slow down your recovery. One way to prevent excess inflammation from delaying your recovery is to eat enough omega-3 fats. These fats, which are found in foods such as fish, algae, walnuts, flaxseeds and chia seeds, are known to have anti-inflammatory properties. You can also prevent excess or prolonged inflammation by limiting omega-6 fats, which are commonly found in corn, canola, cottonseed, soy and sunflower oils. Consuming too many omega-6 fats is known to promote inflammation, especially if your intake of omega-3 fats is also low. In addition, some studies report that omega-3 supplements may help increase the creation of muscle protein, reduce the loss of muscle during immobilization and promote recovery from concussions. That said, high intakes of omega-3 fats from supplements may reduce your body's ability to regain muscle mass once you return to training. Therefore, it may be best to increase your omega-3 intake from foods rather than supplements. Foods rich in omega-3 fats may help speed up your recovery by limiting excessive or prolonged inflammation. Limiting your intake of omega-6 fats can also be helpful.

Zinc is a component of many enzymes and proteins, including those needed for wound healing, tissue repair and growth. In fact, studies show that not getting enough zinc from your diet can delay wound healing. Therefore, consuming zinc-rich foods such as meat, fish, shellfish, pulses, seeds, nuts and whole grains may help you recover more effectively from an injury. Some people may be tempted to simply take zinc supplements to ensure they meet their recommendations but zinc competes with copper for absorption, so receiving high doses of zinc from supplements may increase the likelihood of copper deficiency. Overall, if your zinc status is good, additional zinc from supplements probably won't speed up wound healing. However, getting enough from your diet is important. Regularly consuming zinc-rich foods can help speed up wound healing and tissue repair and growth.

Calcium is an important component of bones and teeth. It's also involved in muscle contractions and nerve signalling. That's why it's important to ensure you always get enough calcium — not just when you're recovering from an injury. Calcium-rich foods include dairy products, leafy greens, sardines, broccoli, okra, almonds, seaweed and calcium-fortified tofu and plant milks.

Vitamin D also serves an equally important function because it helps your body absorb the calcium found in the foods you eat. Together with calcium, it plays an instrumental role in recovering from a bone injury. Also, getting enough vitamin D may increase the chances of a good recovery after surgery. For instance, studies have found a good vitamin D status can enhance strength recovery following an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgery. Few foods naturally contain vitamin D, but your body has the ability to make vitamin D from exposure to the sun. Eating enough calcium-rich foods is necessary for proper recovery from fractures. Getting enough vitamin D can also help. Creatine is a substance naturally found in meat, poultry and fish. It helps your body produce energy during heavy lifting or high-intensity exercise. The human body can also produce about 1 gram of it per day. Creatine has become a popular supplement commonly used to increase muscle mass and improve performance in various sports. Interestingly, it may also help you recover from an injury. One study reported that creatine supplements enhanced the gain of muscle mass and strength lost during a two-week immobilization period more than a placebo. Another study found that individuals supplementing with creatine lost less muscle in their upper body during a week-long period of immobilization than those given a placebo. However, not all studies found these results. Both of the studies showing positive results provided the creatine supplement in four doses of five grams each day. It's important to note that there is currently no consensus about creatine and sports injury recovery. That said, no studies to date have found any negative effects. Creatine remains one of the most-studied, safest supplements around, so it may be worth giving it a try. Creatine may boost your recovery by reducing how much muscle you lose immediately after your injury. It may also help you regain muscle more quickly once you go back to training.

Glucosamine is a natural substance found in the fluid that surrounds your joints. It is involved in the creation of tendons, ligaments and cartilage. Your body naturally produces glucosamine, but you can also increase your levels through supplements. Supplements are generally made either from shellfish shells or fermented corn. Research in individuals with arthritis shows that glucosamine may be useful in decreasing joint pain. Also, studies in healthy individuals show that supplementing with 1–3 grams of glucosamine per day may help reduce joint deterioration. One recent animal study also showed that taking glucosamine daily after a fracture may speed up bone reformation. Based on these findings, some people take glucosamine supplements to help reduce pain after joint and bone injuries or speed up recovery from fractures. However, more research is needed before strong conclusions can be made. It's worth noting that glucosamine supplements may pose a risk to those who are allergic or sensitive to shellfish or iodine, pregnant women and those with diabetes, high cholesterol, asthma or high blood pressure. Glucosamine may help reduce pain and speed up recovery from fractures. However, more research is needed and some people shouldn't take it.

In addition to getting enough calcium and vitamin D, good intakes of the following nutrients can contribute to a speedier recovery from bone fractures:

Magnesium: Promotes bone strength and firmness. Found in almonds, cashews, peanuts, potato skins, brown rice, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, lentils and milk.

Silicon: Plays an important role in the early stages of bone formation. Best sources include whole grains and cereals, carrots and green beans.

Vitamins K1 and K2: Directs calcium toward bones and helps improve bone strength. Best sources include leafy greens, Brussels sprouts, prunes, sauerkraut, natto, miso, organ meats, egg yolks and dairy products from grass-fed cows.

Boron: Promotes bone health by increasing calcium and magnesium retention and enhancing vitamin D's effect. Prunes are the best dietary source.

Inositol: Helps improve calcium absorption in bones. Found in cantaloupe, grapefruit, oranges and prunes.

Arginine: This amino acid is needed to produce nitric oxide, a compound necessary for fracture healing. The best sources include meat, dairy, poultry, seafood, nuts and oatmeal.

The list of supplement I decided to use are Creatine, Glucosamine, Magnesium, Iron and Fish Oil.


Swimming

Swimming has always been good for me, it makes me happy. I like being in the water, either the pool or the ocean. In fact, it turns out that swimming is better than good for me and not just because it’s an amazing low-impact, fun way to lose weight and get fit. Swimming has a plethora of benefits, which is why it is one of the most recommended cardio workouts in the world today. Benefit no.1; increased strength and muscle tone. If you compare it with many other cardio workouts, swimming is a fantastic way to increases muscle tone and strength while enhancing your cardiovascular fitness. Swimming is much better than most other aerobic workouts because of the medium you exert your body through. While you’re swimming, because you are moving your body through water which is much more dense than air, every stroke and kick you make has more resistance than, for example, jogging. The result: your body experiences a tougher muscular workout. It’s kind of like using the resistance machines at your gym, except you’re in the water.

Benefit no.2; reduced stress on your joints. Since 90 percent of your body weight is buoyant in water, while you swim you have to bear only 10 percent of it, which makes it a low-impact workout for your body. Weight-bearing activities, even if it’s just your body weight, such as running, jogging, jumping and sprinting apply greater stress to your lower joints, which increases your risk of injury (e.g. knee pain). It also means you have to take more rest and recovery days. Swimming on the other hand allows you to work your body at ease, without causing stress on your joints, bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles. In fact, people undergoing physiotherapy use swimming as a primary form of exercise to work stiff muscles, loosen joints and restore their overall range of motion and flexibility, which are often lost due to a long period of stagnation from rest.

Benefit no.3; improved flexibility. Many gym exercises function on isolation of body parts; for example, today might be leg day and tomorrow, core day. Swimming, on the other hand, is a full-body workout: it incorporates a variety of motions which are easy on the joints and muscles, while preventing stiffness of your ligaments. While swimming, your core and hips are engaged, your legs move rapidly and as required and your arms work through the resistance of water with wide arcs. With each stroke you make, you increase the flexibility of your body and stretch yourself entirely. It is important that you stretch before and after swimming to maintain joint range of motion and flexibility and prevent injury due to stiffness.

Benefit no.4; Improved cardiovascular fitness. Swimming strengthens every muscle in your body, including the heart. The aerobic nature of swimming strengthens your heart, and improves its function in pumping blood throughout the body. While swimming, the water surrounding you exerts pressure on your body, which enhances blood circulation to the heart. Further, studies indicate that aerobic workouts can fight your body’s inflammatory response, thereby reducing your risk of heart disease. If you swim for just 30 minutes every day, you reduce your risk of coronary heart disease by 30-40%, according the American Heart Association. Moreover, the Annals of Internal Medicine describes aerobic exercise as an effective means of reducing blood pressure. According to numerous studies, you can substantially lower your blood pressure with just 30 minutes of swimming, three times in a week. Another study discovered that the resting heart rate of a person could be reduced with regular swimming for just a period of 10 weeks.

Benefit no.5; research indicates that regular swimming can lower bad cholesterol or LDL levels in the blood and raise good cholesterol or HDL levels. There are also studies that suggest there are links with reduced risk of diabetes. Studies show that swimming can help with diabetes too. A study indicated that men who lost 500 calories per week from cardio exercises reduced their risk of type-2 diabetes by 6 percent. Fortunately, you can burn more than 500 calories a week with swimming.

Just half an hour of swimming breaststroke three times a week can help you burn about 900 calories, depending on your body weight. This will reduce your risk of diabetes by more than 10 percent. So a rigorous swimming session just once a week may reduce your risk by 16 percent or more. According to research conducted by the University of Maryland, individuals with type-1 diabetes can increase insulin sensitivity with swimming. Furthermore, the American Diabetics Association recommends 3 sessions of swimming per week, totaling up to 150 minutes every week, of moderate aerobic activity such as swimming to enhance glycemic control. When you combine a low-glycemic index diet with regular swimming, you gain much greater control over your blood sugar levels.

Swimming breaststroke for just 30 minutes can torch around 360 calories depending on your level of intensity and speed and your overall body weight. With walking, you can only burn around 99 calories in 30 minutes and cycling will burn approximately 240 calories within the same time. A common misunderstanding among many people is that swimming cannot burn as many calories as land exercises because the water is cooler than the average body temperature. Contrary to this belief, modern studies indicate that swimming is actually one of the biggest calorie-burners, which beats many other workouts because of the lack of stress applied to the joints. So just because you’re not sweating, doesn’t mean you’re not torching calories.

Improved symptoms of asthma

Exercise-induced symptoms are common in asthma sufferers working out in the gym or any dry-air environment. However, swimming allows a person to breathe in warm, moist-air, thus reducing the chances of symptoms while exercising, but not if it’s a chlorine pool since the by-products of chlorine can trigger allergies and asthma).

Some studies even indicate that swimming can improve respiratory function, increase lung capacity and improve asthma overall, but stick to a salt-water pool (or the ocean) for this.

Improved mood

A worldwide survey by Speedo which included about 4000 swimmers showed that swimming is one of the best ways to reduce emotional stress. The survey indicated that 74 percent of the people chose swimming as a means of unwinding. 60 percent agreed that just being in water feels good and 70 percent stated that swimming refreshes them.

It doesn’t matter what level of intensity you choose, swimming can boost your mood. Studies indicate that amateur and professional swimmers experience less depression, tension, confusion, anger and irritability after aerobic workouts. However, these studies don’t indicate that swimming is a magic potion for eternal happiness. The mood-lift one may experience after swimming is simply because of the release of feel-good chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins stimulate feelings of pleasure and happiness. It also numbs emotional pain and possesses similar characteristics to morphine. Just like the ‘runners high’ everyone talks about, in fact, we’re 90% sure that this is why dolphins always look so happy.

Moreover, swimming allows the body and mind to relax, just like yoga because there is a lot of stretching and flexibility motions involved which increase circulation to bodily organs and the brain. Perhaps the best feature of swimming is the fact that it is the only workout with minimal distractions. All you will be able to hear underwater is your breathing and the water – and it is thus, a form of meditation as well.

Finally, studies show that swimming can alter the brain via a process called hippocampal neurogenesis which literally means growing new brain cells. In other words, you can bask in a pool of endorphins while burning a ton of calories and getting smarter at the same time. Below is mapped the four ocean swims I completed during April; the green line represents my target. This is the average pace a triathlete completes the swim leg. I've got a way to go but felt exhilarated completing these.

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