Anyone who lives an active lifestyle knows how important physical activity is to maintaining that sense of well-being. However, you also know how much energy it takes to maintain that lifestyle – workout routines, athletic training, competitions, injury rehabilitation exercises, and even the non-stop pace of your everyday life can take a lot out of you. That’s why carbohydrates are so important.
When your body uses energy, it first turns to carbs. If you’re working hard at the gym or in physical therapy treatments, it is important to fuel up on carbohydrates in order to reach your goals. For more information on how a physical therapist can help guide you in your carb intake, contact our office today.
Carbs and exercise – how they go hand-in-hand
If you’re in a physical therapy program for restoring injured tissues, boosting your muscle strength, or improving your range of motion, carbohydrates can help! If your physical therapist prescribed active exercises, such as walking/running on a treadmill, swimming, or cycling, your body will need enough glycogen (blood sugar) to remain energetic and stay on track.
Because of this, your physical therapist can advise you on how you should prep with meals before your physical therapy sessions; for example, consuming 1 gram of carbs per kilogram of your body weight for each hour of activity. Your physical therapist may also suggest adding additional carbs to your post-workout meal (in addition to muscle-building protein) because your body will still be burning fuel after your workout is complete.
The importance of carbs
To understand the importance of carbohydrates, you must first understand what they are. Carbs are identified as organic molecules comprised of equal parts hydrogen, oxygen, and water. They can also be split into two separate categories: simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates.
Simple carbohydrates are also known as simple sugars. Sugar is a fast-burning fuel that your body absorbs quickly. When you are in need of immediate energy in large quantities, your body will burn its simple sugars first. These carbohydrates will increase your body’s natural insulin levels until they are burned off.
Complex carbohydrates contain larger chains of sugars, but unlike simple carbs, they also contain fiber. Complex carbs burn much slower and steadier than simple carbohydrates, allowing insulin levels to increase less dramatically.
Both simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates can post different benefits depending upon the activity in which you are participating. For example, if a sprinter needs to burn a large amount of energy in less than a minute, simple carbs could help significantly. Conversely, endurance athletes who partake in steady, long-term activities will benefit more from the slow-burning complex carbohydrates. Whatever the case may be, carbohydrates can assist you in getting where you need to be for your physical goals.
Cutting carbs – why this is a bad idea
Any unwanted extra weight can undoubtedly hinder your active lifestyle. It not only slows you down and lowers your physical function, but it can also result in long-term effects to your weight-bearing muscles and joints.
Carbohydrates that go unused end up getting stored away as fat instead, which is why many people decide to cut out carbs when they are trying to stay fit. However, a physical therapist will tell you that carbohydrates should be a plentiful part of your diet! Carbs are good for heart function, brain activity, and other physical processes.
Additionally, cutting out carbohydrates from your diet will force your body to burn protein as a substitute fuel source. This can result in reduced muscle mass and an overall sluggish feeling.
Schedule a consultation for more assistance!
Carbs can help you achieve the most out of your high-energy tasks or physical therapy sessions. To learn more about how participating in proper dietary practices can help you achieve optimum results, contact Athletix Rehab and Recovery, LLC today and schedule an appointment!