Is stress avoidable?
Some athletes swear by ice baths to recover faster, reduce muscle soreness, reduce inflammation and prevent injury. For the purposes of recovery nothing beats an ice bath. But as the weather gets gloomier how many of us are actually going to go home, fill up our tubs with ice, immerse ourselves in the frigid water and sit there for ten daunting minutes? It's a torture most of us would prefer to avoid.
Contrast water therapy (alternating hot and cold blasts of water during your post-workout shower) is your next best and most realistic (meaning you are more likely to do it) way to speed up recovery and get some of the same benefits of an ice bath. The theory behind this method is that repeatedly constricting and dilating blood vessels helps remove (or flush out) waste products in the tissues.
How to use contrast water therapy: While taking your post-exercise shower, alternate 2min of hot water with 30sec of cold water. Unfortunately the water does need to be unpleasantly cold to get good results. Enjoy!
Decreased meat consumption, low calorie intake and losses from menstration and exercise explain why female runners have difficulty meeting the RDA of 15-18mg of iron daily.
Iron is responsible for delivering oxygen from the blood to our brain and muscles and is essential for optimum aerobic capacity. Low iron levels can result in poor performance, lethargy, trouble concentrating, unmotivation and frustration!
The best source of absorbable iron is in lean red meat. About 20-30% of iron is absorbed in meat while only 2-8% of the iron in plants can be absorbed. Heme iron (the iron in meat) is found, not only in red meat, but in poultry (dark meat), fish and seafood. Dairy foods and eggs are not good sources but vitamin C can be added to enhance iron absorbtion. Plant sources which provide iron include dark leafy greens, lentils, beans (especially lima beans), nuts, dried fruit (apricots), tomato and prune juice, black strap molasses, wheat germ and iron fortified cereals and grains (check the label).
Whatever your methods or food ethics are, be alert of your iron intake and be aware for the signs of deficiency. Eat the right foods and only supplement when necessary or advised to by a health care practioner. Your success will mirror your efforts!