Sports Shorts: Not Your Usual Sports Supplements
Using a few simple sports supplements can make a huge difference in your enjoyment summer activities. Whether you are running, biking, canoeing, playing team sports, or are just a weekend warrior, we have solutions for you! Pick one or more to stay hydrated, retain energy and avoid pain.
Need Energy? It’s hard to find the energy for activity after a long week at work. If you’re stressed out and over-worked, or just participating in intense activity, try one of the adaptogenic herbs. They help the body react better to stress and provide an even, sustained energy. Try maca, rhodiola, ginseng, schizandra, or eleuthero. D-ribose is also a great energy booster.
Out of Breath? Lung capacity keeps some of us from enjoying a long bike ride or other activity unnecessarily. Studies have shown that Vitamin C, taken before exercise, can reduce the incidence of exercise-induced asthma or shortness of breath. (1) Cordyceps mushroom has long been used by Chinese athletes to increase performance and is also used to combat altitude sickness. Take it by itself or in combination with Chaga and Reishi mushrooms in a supplement called Breathe.
Want to Minimize Joint Pain? A collagen or gelatin supplement (think lazy man’s bone broth) is a great way to increase the strength of all your connective tissues—muscle, tendons, ligaments, and bone. It’s also great for your skin. The key is to get a well-sourced one that is from grass-fed animals. And we have the one for you. It is made by a local company too! Turmeric is another favorite for joint inflammation. Add it to your smoothie or take it as a pill to reduce inflammation. I also love T-Relief, which comes in pill, gel, or ointment form. It is a homeopathic combination remedy that has things for inflammation, swelling, muscle soreness, nerve pain, and healing of connective tissue. Great to have on hand for the average aches and pains that come with activity. I like to take some before and after more intense physical activity.
Dehydrated? Water is my beverage of choice for hydration. Gatorade and the like have too much junk in them (read SUGAR, colorants, and preservatives). However, plain water may not be enough at higher temps or with more vigorous exercise. Add an electrolyte powder to your water to boost its hydrating qualities and supply minerals that are depleted with exercise. We have a great one by Metagenics called Endura, or one by EmergenC.
Worried about stress fractures? A recent study in the Journal of Foot and Ankle surgery found that those with Vitamin D levels (25-hydroxyvitamin D) less than 40ng/ml had double the risk of stress fractures.(2) The study coincides with an earlier one done on female navy recruits. Whether you are a true athlete or just want to protect your bone health, Vitamin D supplementation is for you!
Sore muscles dragging you down? Arnica, taken internally or applied as a gel or cream, is a great sports aid to have on hand. Take it or apply it before exercise to prevent sore muscles. Sour cherry juice is also great for this purpose—it removes lactic acid from the muscles and uric acid from the joints. Magnesium gel applied topically is also great for relaxing muscles after a long day of activity, or take a soak in one of our bath salts.
In the sun all day? Protect your skin from burning with a natural sunscreen that has a physical block like zinc in it. Other ingredients should be healthy oils and antioxidants. We love Suntegrity—they have great regular, unscented, and even tinted options. We have some great facial sunscreens as well. Stay hydrated (see above) and if you tend toward sunstroke use a flower essence formula called Solaris by Australian Bush.
Need a convenient source of protein? In addition to the above sports supplements we also have some great protein powders that are really clean. One of our newest combines collagen and whey protein–a great combination for sports! We also have several great plant-based proteins. Add a greens powder for oxygenation and a great nutrient boost!