Everybody knows that you need to eat the right things if you want to stay healthy and fit. But what are the "right things"? What does your body need in order to help you stay active?
One important answer is glucose. Glucose is the fuel your body needs, especially at the beginning of exercise. Even after you've been exercising for a while and your muscles are getting energy from fat, glucose is still important. It's like gasoline for your body - so keep your gas tank full.
Where do you get glucose? You get it from carbohydrates. Maintain a well-balanced diet and choose lots of fruit and vegetables to go with your grains (pasta, rice, bread, cereal). And remember to eat the right things at the right times - food takes time to digest.
Water is another part of eating healthy. You need water to keep the nutrients circulating in your body and to clear out the waste. And you sweat off a lot of water when you exercise (even if you're swimming). You can get your water from milk, juice, sports drinks - or plain old water.
Here's what to eat and drink before, during and after exercise:
More than 3 hours before exercising
Just before exercising
See the section in this feature on "Specific foods" for more details on what to eat.
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