Symposium Tips

May 12, 2000

Tips for athletes

Speakers at the Women in Sports Symposium offer these tips to keep female athletes in tip-top shape now and as they age:

* Regular exercise should include not only aerobic exercise but also strength training, which will help prevent injury. Beware of overexercising, a notorious problem among people with eating disorders.

* Females run an increased risk of knee injury. Strength training can help prevent injury by supporting the joints, which are less likely to move with muscle holding them in place.


* Make sure your daily intake of calcium is adequate. At least 1,000 milligrams a day is needed to prevent osteoporosis. Those who already have the condition should take in at least 1,500 milligrams of calcium daily to help reverse it.

It doesn't matter whether the calcium is obtained through food or supplements as long as you're also getting vitamin D, which helps the body absorb the calcium.

* Beware of diet fads and nutritional fallacies. Match caloric intake to your metabolism and activity. Eating too little can result in amenorrhea - the suspension of menstruation - and other health problems.

* It's a fallacy that protein helps you build strength. Protein supplements aren't necessary for someone who eats a normal diet.

* It's true that carbohydrate loading before an event is beneficial to an athlete's endurance. To maximize the effect, you need to starve your body of carbohydrates for a couple of days, then eat a lot of them. Complex carbohydrates, like pasta, are better than simple carbohydrates.

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