Eat, Drink and Exercise?

There are numerous things you already know to do before you workout, exercise or go for a brisk walk. These things might include dressing in your best workout duds, wearing the right shoes, ear buds are in and your Fitbit, Garmin or other wearable device is strapped on.

But what about the things you aren’t supposed to do? Some things are no brainers. Drinking alcohol while you’re working out or eating a huge meal right before you hit the gym are both examples of things we know are not good for us while other actions that seem “okay” are actually not pre-exercise approved.

Here are five things to keep in mind before you plan your next walk or workout.

(1)      Avoid Drinking Alcohol. Period. You know that one glass of wine you enjoy at happy hour? It can lower your blood-sugar levels, which can lead to shakiness and weakness. Even small amounts of alcohol can cause drowsiness, narrowing of blood vessels and other side effects.  None of these things lead to a great workout or productive walk. Skip the adult beverages before your walk. It’s just common sense.

(2)      Avoid the “Wrong” Foods Before a Walk. This means you’ll want to avoid foods high in protein or fats. These types of foods take longer to digest, leave you feeling overly full and cause you to walk slower and workout at less than your full potential.

(3)      Choose the “Right” Foods if You Need to Eat First. To avoid the overly full feeling mentioned in #3, you’ll want to choose foods like a handful of pretzels, a small bowl of vegetable soup, a piece of fruit or other simple carbohydrates. Remember to use personal common sense. If foods are supposed to be “light” yet are an issue for your own digestive issues, look for different options. You don’t want an upset digestive system to deal with during your walk or workout.

(4)      Don’t Drink Too Much Water. That’s right. It seems counterproductive when you think about how often we hear to stay hydrated and to drink more water.  But, experts say that drinking too much water before a walk can cause you to experience painful cramps. Recommendations say drinking 1 cup of water per hour two hours prior to your walk is best. It’s also a good idea to take a bottle of water on your walk and remember to sip about every 10 minutes. When walking more than an hour (or if you sweat heavily) you’ll want to rehydrate with a sports drink that has electrolytes in it.

(5)      Avoid “Over” Stretching or “Static” Stretching. Again, this is one that we all have heard we should do. Who hasn’t heard that you need to stretch before a workout in order to avoid soreness? Well, apparently over stretching impedes muscle performance. Studies indicates that holding the position for 30–60 seconds will increase flexibility in muscle tissue; however, done before activity or workout, static stretching may actually impede the muscle’s ability to perform.

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