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Staying in Shape During Sports Season

Whatever your sport, these tips can help you stay in shape and avoid injury.

Eat Better, Play Better continued...

“You’ve got to have carbs to replace glycogen,” says American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Heather Mangieri, MS, RD, CSSD. Options include fruits, vegetables, pastas, breads, crackers, and other carbohydrates. Stick to wholegrain products for maximum nutrition. Milk is another option.

Your diet needs to be healthy -- think fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains. But don't think of it as dieting. Think of it, instead, as fueling your body so it can really perform.

Pittsburgh-based Mangieri, who often works with teen athletes, says many boys skip snacks and meals and head straight to practice or to the big game.

The result? “You will feel weaker, tired, slower," Mangieri says.

You don’t want that. So an hour before you play, eat something. Mangieri recommends a banana and yogurt or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, along with getting fully hydrated.

“You want to eat enough to add fuel, without upsetting your stomach,” she says.

Eating is equally important after you exercise. And by that, we mean right after.

“It’s important to get it right away,” says Mangieri. “Ideally within five to 10 minutes, but definitely within 30 minutes. The longer you wait, the longer it takes your body to recover.”

Mangieri also emphasizes the need to stay hydrated. She recommends downing a 16-ounce drink -- water is a good choice -- about two hours before you plan to work out, go to practice, or start a game. Drink another 5-10 ounces 30 minutes before your game,  and take breaks to sip water while you're playing.

Keeping your body fueled with good food and plenty of fluids will help keep you playing at your best.

Reviewed on March 09, 2011

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