They say that once you hit 50, it’s all downhill with your body and health. Well, it might not be a downhill spiral, but your body’s needs definitely change as you get older. In fact, your body starts to decline after 30. For aging Masters Athletes, nutritional intake directly impacts performance and recovery times. Understanding your body’s changing nutritional needs will help you maintain high performance in your sport.
As you get older, your body requires less food to function. However, consuming the right foods is important because your digestive tract, skin, cells, blood and other biological systems lose their ability to absorb many of the essential vitamins and minerals. For Masters Athletes, nutrition dense foods are even more important in the diet because you burn off more nutrients during activity.
Dietary needs are different as Masters Athletes age than they are for younger ones. As the body starts to deteriorate, our older cells need more of certain essential vitamins and minerals to function optimally. If you are an endurance athlete, your meal plan should reflect your body’s changing requirements.
As you age, your digestive tract becomes more intolerant to certain foods. The intestinal tract produces less of the good bacteria that is needed to help with digestion. Eating foods high in probiotics will restore your bacterial levels. Probiotics are not only an essential part of your digestive health, but they also help your body fight disease, lower cholesterol, improve the look and texture of the skin, and aid in weight loss. Eating foods high in probiotics such as yogurt, sauerkraut, pickles, traditional buttermilk, some foods and seasonings made with fermented soya beans, and certain cheese types. If you are not eating enough probiotic rich foods, you can increase your intake with daily supplements.
Mature athletes diet should include increased fluid intake. Aging adults are more susceptible to dehydration, especially if they do not replenish their lost fluids during physical activity. Changes to your body’s natural functions increase the amount of fluids secreted regularly. Because physical fitness increases sweat production, older fitness enthusiasts are at a higher risk of becoming dehydrated while performing their sport. Any degree of dehydration can have serious effects on your game and your health. Therefore, it is important for the performance and nutrition of masters’ athletes to increase your fluid intake to stay well hydrated.
As your body ages, the musculoskeletal system and other bodily functions start to degenerate. Regardless how active or healthy you are, this is an inevitable part of getting older. However, you can slow the process by increasing your dietary protein. Protein intake with every meal and snack will fuel the tissues with needed nutrients and amino acids so the tissues function better and recover faster.
Just how much protein sports enthusiasts need has always been a hotly debated topic by professionals. While health and fitness professionals do not agree with how much protein is required, they do agree that someone who is more active needs more protein to replenish the tissues. Eating protein with every meal and snack provides the tissues with a continuous flow of vital nutrients and enzymes found in proteins.
A Masters Athlete’s nutrition plan should include foods that are high in micronutrients. As you get older, your body’s ability to absorb many vital nutrients decreases. The skin, digestive tract, blood, and cells lose their ability to absorb vitamins and minerals needed to stay healthy. Performance of masters’ athletes is directly linked to food intake, so your meal planning should include foods that are high in Calcium, Vitamin D, Omega 3, B complex, Iron, and other essential elements.
As you get older, your bodily functions begin to deteriorate as they go through the natural aging process. For masters’ athletes, proper nutrition is important in your performance and recovery from your favourite sport. Eating nutrient dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, complex, whole grain carbohydrates and drinking plenty of fluids will help you maintain healthy and active lifestyle.
At The Sports Masters, our community provides many helpful tips and advice to help other athletes maintain the highest level of nutrition and performance.