Fuel Up for 2019
January is a time for fresh starts and lifestyle goals—hello 2019 and semester 2! Many of us may be trying to incorporate more physical activity into our lives. Let’s chat about the basics of optimizing nutrition to fuel physical activity!
- Where do I start? When setting goals for physical activity and wellness, it is important to ensure they are SMART so they will last. Read more about making your goals SMART here!
- How much is enough? Aim for 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic activity spaced throughout the week in bouts of 10 minutes or more. Moderate activity will cause you to sweat a bit and breathe a bit heavier. Vigorous activity will cause you to sweat a lot and be ‘out of breath’. Try to perform muscle and bone strengthening activities resistance activities at least 2 days a week to strengthen your bones and muscles.
- What can I do? Physical activity can come from planned exercise or sport sessions, but it doesn’t have to be that structured! Physical activity can be done by walking to and from class, daily activities (yes—even cleaning counts!), and spontaneous dance parties! Grab some friends and try the free group fitness classes offered by the ARC. Whatever form of activity you choose, make sure it is safe and enjoyable—physical activity should be fun!
- Stay hydrated! It is important to drink fluid before, during, and after physical activity. Water is usually the best choice unless you are exercising for long durations or at high intensities. An easy way to tell if you are well hydrated is to monitor the colour of your urine—clear to pale yellow is the goal. Learn more about staying hydrated during physical activity here!
- What should I eat before? Eating before physical activity will give you the energy you need to be active. Meals and snacks 1-4 hours before physical activity should be rich in carbohydrates, moderate in protein, and low in fat and fiber. You might have to experiment with different options to find what works best for you. If you’re working out after breakfast, a great option is oatmeal with peanut butter and banana from Ban Righ but you can find more ideas here!
- What should I eat after? Eating carbohydrates within 30 minutes of physical activity will help refill your body’s energy stores and prepare you for future activity. Protein is also important for repairing and building new muscle. Try a snack like Fresh to Go’s Greek yogurt parfait or a balanced meal like brown rice, chicken, and steamed vegetables from Simple Servings. Find more post-activity food ideas here. Remember, food should be fun so don’t be afraid to get creative and mix and match in the dining halls.
- Does your physical activity overlap with the dining hall hours? Try the Athletic Specials, offered daily at Lazy Scholar between 7pm and 2am (while quantities last).
And now you know the basics of nutrition and physical activity! We wish you a happy and healthy 2019! Have unanswered questions? Use “Ask the Dietitian” box on the side bar to get it answered 🙂
Jennifer Beverley, BSc, MScFN(c)
Jennifer Beverley has always had a passion for nutrition and physical activity. After completing her BSc in Kinesiology at Queen’s University she moved to London, Ontario to complete a BSc in Food and Nutrition. She is now a candidate for her MSc in Food and Nutrition and is working towards becoming a Registered Dietitian. She has fond memories of the food offered by Queen’s University Hospitality Services and even taught group fitness classes at the ARC.