Food & exercise – the missing links John Coleman argues that food and exercise go hand in hand, but it seems there is so much conflicting advice on nutrition that it can leave you feeling… a bit queasy The Balanced Lives programme has built its reputation on the benefits of exercise, but eating the right food is just as important. As David Clyant, our Mobilty lead explains, food and exercise are intrinsically linked. “During the programme we often discuss different foods to eat or avoid depending on the individual’s medical condition.” Nutrition plays a crucial role in the prevention of diseases and conditions associated with aging, in much the same way as exercise and increased mobility, but can foods actually compliment exercise? Here are a few ideas: Eggs, Chicken Breasts and Cottage Cheese High in protein, these are the foods that can build muscle. Body builders swear by them, but us mere mortals need them too, in moderation: they are quick and easy to prepare after a Balanced Lives session. Canned Tuna and Sardines Yes, the humble tuna can provide a source of much needed omega-3. Sardines are even better; did you know that each sardine has 8 grams of protein and only 70 calories? Sardines are loaded with healthy omega-3 fats that can reduce inflammation. Regular intake of Omega-3 fats has been proven to aid rheumatoid arthritis, curb stiffness and joint pain. They have also shown to help with the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Chili Peppers Perfect after light exercise, they give your metabolism a boost. Chili peppers have strong anti-inflammatory properties, helping to preventing muscle soreness. Green Tea It’s important to drink lots of water before and after exercise, but other liquids can be taken. Green tea is not only calorie free: it also contains metabolism-boosting catechins that can help you lose weight. Green tea can protect your cells against oxidative damage; in other words, it can rid your body of all those nasty toxins. Fresh Fruit Once you have improved mobility, it’s important to stock up heavily on natural vitamins, especially those in fruit. Apples and bananas are great for energy, while cold grapes (eaten fresh from the fridge) are especially recommended by many nutritionists. They can provide protein, calcium and vitamin C without the fat. Vegetables Raw carrots, lettuce, radishes are cheap and nourishing and yes a few of your five a day after exercise can help to boost your immune system. Take Advice It’s important to consult your GP if you have any health issues or allergies relating to food. We also recommend that you come along to one of our Balanced Lives sessions and speak to our mobility leads. They will be more than happy to advise on nutrition and the benefits of gentle exercise.