Monday, June 2, 2003

Personal Trainer

Rest, diet key to fast recovery

By Dave Patania

Question: I am a woman in her mid 50s who is starting to hike. After my last 10-mile hike, it took me several days to recover. How can I recover more quickly from difficult hikes so that my legs aren't sore for days afterward?

Answer: There are many things that can contribute to prolonged recovery periods. Check with your doctor to test for any serious conditions. A more likely scenario is that since you just started hiking, your body isn't acclimated to working for long periods and just needs time to do so. Make sure you aren't doing too much too soon. Track your hikes to make sure that you are slowly increasing the mileage and duration for your body to adapt properly.

Adjust routines

By the age of 50, the human body takes longer to recover from serious exercise. However, that doesn't mean that exercisers 50 and over can't do amazing things - they can. It just takes a little longer to recover. To recover more quickly, it is necessary to look at your activity and then make necessary adjustments.

Increase your sleep and rest time, which is when your body takes all the nutrients you consume and uses them for recovery and growth.

During long-duration activities such as hiking, you are expending a lot of calories (carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins/minerals and electrolytes) that must be replenished consistently or your energy levels will drop and recovery periods increase. Your energy levels depend upon the amount of stored glycogen in your muscles and liver. Glycogen is the storage form of the carbohydrates that you consume.

With low carbohydrate levels, your body lacks the energy and capacity to fuel and recover from activity. It is important to eat enough quality carbohydrates such as oatmeal, brown rice and sweet potatoes. These are carbs that don't get broken down easily and then converted to body fat, like low-quality carbs such as white flour products and white rice tend to do.

Additionally, as people age they tend to lose muscle mass more rapidly, which depletes strength and stamina levels. Eating ample amounts of protein (chicken, fish) will prevent the loss of lean muscle mass. Eat veggies for ample nutrient and antioxidant levels.

Nutrient plan

Low amounts of other nutrients, such as iron and calcium, are important with regard to energy levels, so be sure to have your doctor recommend a good vitamin/mineral/electrolyte plan for your increased activity levels. Fuel up with an energy bar or shake before, during and after your hikes. Along with water and a solid diet, these supplements are necessities for hikers.

Be sure to add strength training and stretching to support your hikes, aid in recovery and avoid injury. The addition of more calories, nutrients and supplements will make long recovery periods a thing of the past.

Contact personal trainer Dave Patania by e-mail:

Contemporary fashion meets contemporary art
Playhouse fund-raiser promises feats of magic
Chesney makes hits, not history
Get to It: A guide to help make your day
'Nemo' sinks 'Bruce' at box office
Service tailors tunes to listener
Stay behind your thirst
Fitness Calendar
Rest, diet key to fast recovery

New art center opens to wows
Deals help CSO stay in synch
Reality over reruns this summer
Cincinnati theater on upswing
DEMALINE: 'Graduate' comes to Aronoff
Ovation sets two comedies, holiday show
MidPoint Music Festival gets city funds
McGURK: Madeira actor to discuss 'Blue Car'
Deana Carter makes a comeback

Influential chef leaving
Officer has arresting memorabilia collection
Aunt Flora's opens its doors at last
KENDRICK: Temporary disabilities can open eyes wide

Cincinnati chili? Or spaghetti Bolognese?
Aglamesis gives kids old-fashioned ice cream
MARTIN: Chef finds ad 'demeaning'
Wanted: Great lovers, lousy cooks

Wright at home
For doctor, roses are just as good as golf
Historic gardens on display
Model train hobbyists make tracks outside
Great lovers, Lousy cooks

Kids get dirty in Granny's Garden
Securing home prevents break-ins
Killing English ivy takes determination
In the know
Circle This
To do this week