A: Exercise is great for your body, but in order to get the most benefit, you need to refuel your body in the correct way. It is always important to make sure you rehydrate after any activity. If you plan to exercise vigorously, it is a good idea to weigh yourself before and after your activity to help you know how much to eat and drink after exercising. It is recommended you replenish with 20 – 24 ounces of fluid per pound lost.
It is also important to eat carbohydrates, ideally within 15 minutes of completing your exercise, and for sure within two hours. This restores the nutrients that were used by your cells during exercise. You should eat 0.3 – 0.6 grams of carbohydrates for each pound lost. If you combine protein with those carbohydrates within 30 minutes of exercise, you can speed your recovery even more. The optimal ratio is four grams of carbohydrates to one gram of protein. Adding the protein helps rebuild muscles, improve hydration and stimulate the immune system.
There are various ways to get the ideal post-exercise nutrition you need. Several sports drinks have a carbohydrate to protein ratio of 2.5:1. Chocolate milk has a carb to protein ratio of 3.25:1, which makes it an excellent post-exercise drink. Another way to replenish lost nutrients would be eating a good old-fashioned peanut butter sandwich, a 4:1 ratio. Add water for hydration, and you are on your way to recovery.
Information provided by 21st Century Rehab at Dallas County Hospital, 610 10th St., Perry, 465-7672.