Focus on nutrition
Do you know the types of food that keep your brain focused and alert, your muscles strong and your breathing steady?
Riding success involves more than just your horse’s athletic ability. If you’re competing or riding daily, taking a look at your nutrition may enhance your skill, energy, and stamina. Horse owners scrutinize what their horses eat. So, have you done the same for yourself? Are your nutritional needs being met?
Think about how much more enjoyable it would be to ride longer without being out of breath. What if you could eliminate leg cramps or back pain? For instance, you could enjoy feeling more fluid with your horse during every ride.
Are you up to a 30-Day challenge to become a better you through nutrition?
5 equestrian energy boosts
1. Maximize your energy by starting your day with a Serotonin surge.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter often referred to as the happiness hormone. It also reduces your appetite and gives your consistent long-term energy! In simple terms, Serotonin is what some anti-depressants help elevate to improve your mood.
So, how can you raise Serotonin naturally? The easiest way is to start your day with a protein breakfast with no sugar. This also helps your body burn fat. Throughout the night your body has been repairing and building. Giving your body nutrient dense protein first thing in the morning will give you steady energy throughout the morning.
Try: Egg scramble with veggies or turkey bacon, poached eggs with asparagus
2. Vitamin B12 supplementation increases your energy and happiness factor.
B-12 plays a key role in the function of the brain, nervous system, and the formation of the blood. A doctor can check your current levels and supplementation may be necessary. If you feel lethargic, moody, are having difficulty concentrating or remembering things, tingling or numbness in the hands or feet, you could be suffering from a lack of B12. You can get a boost of B12 in great quantities from seafood, poultry, pork, and dairy products.
Try: Add Greek yogurt to one of your daily meals.
3. Potassium is an essential nutrient.
Potassium triggers the heart to pump blood through the body and is also critical for muscle contraction, kidney filtration, and nerve conduction.
Try: Beans, dark leafy greens (spinach), sweet potatoes, potatoes (baked, not fried), bananas, avocados, lima beans, kiwi, dried fruit, plain yogurt, mushrooms, and peas
4. Getting restful sleep is essential for daily energy.
For some, the stresses of life make getting good sleep difficult. A snack or magnesium and zinc supplement before bed might help. There is also a combination supplement of ZMA which contains Magnesium, B6 vitamin, and Zinc in one capsule. ZMA increases deep REM sleep which is the sleep that leaves us feeling rested and refreshed. According to a study done by Western Washington University, 12 NCAA Division 2 football players took ZMA nightly for 8 weeks during spring training and were shown to have 2.5 times the strength as those that took the placebo.
If you’d like a more natural alternative, try 10 raw almonds before bed. Magnesium relaxes the muscles and is essential for the transmission of nerve impulses, regulation of body temperature, detoxification, energy production, and the formation of healthy bones and teeth. Women of all ages benefit immensely from the intake of magnesium. In addition to keeping osteoporosis at bay, magnesium’s health benefits include relief from symptoms of menopause and premenstrual syndrome (PMS). It also minimizes the risk of premature labor.
Additional crucial health benefits of magnesium include protein synthesis, relief from bronchospasm (constricted airways) in the lungs, and improvement of parathyroid function. It boosts the bio-availability of vitamin B6 and cholesterol, improves muscle functioning, and prevents osteoporosis, insomnia, constipation, heart attacks, hypertension, constipation, migraines, kidney stones, and gallstones.
Try: Nuts (almonds), whole grains, wheat germ, fish, and green leafy vegetables
5. Water is your lifeline!
Water cleanses, hydrates you, clears your skin and keeps your mind focused. Exercise depletes your body’s water supply along with minerals and electrolytes.
Drinking 10 to 12 glasses a day is a bit more than the average although it is essential for your body. It may be difficult at first, but set a goal to drink a glass upon rising and before you go to bed at the very least.
And, before drinking that soda, think about substituting a glass of water.
While many people believe sports drinks are a great solution for replenishing lost fluids and electrolytes when exercising, most do not realize many of these products contain almost two-thirds of the sugar of a soda. Those high sugars levels combined with sodium, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and artificial flavors actually defeat the rehydration process.
Try: Teas and water infused with lemon or vitamin fizzes such as Emergen-C
5 healthy challenges for you to tackle
- Steady Energy, Serotonin Surge! Protein and veggies at every meal to keep energy even and you feeling HAPPY!!
- Energy and Stamina!! B12 levels checked and supplementation (if required) to increase energy.
- Heart Health! Potassium daily from natural sources to keep your heart strong and blood pressure low.
- Sleep sound – (Supplement if necessary) Magnesium and Zinc at bedtime! or a ZMA supplement.
- Hydration 10-12 glasses of water a day. Minimum one 8 oz glass in the morning and one at night. Reduce your sugary drinks, colas, energy/sports drinks to 1 per day or not at all if you can.
In our fast-paced, one-miracle-pill-solves-all-world we often neglect to see the ramifications of near-sighted approaches. Hopefully, these simple solutions for getting healthy, strong, and energized without costly healthcare fixes help you get riding forward to a successful new you!