get out of breath...some helpful tips to control exercise-induced
Exercise-induced asthma (EIA) can affect any individual
from beginner to Olympic athletes. This disorder is more commonly
associated with endurance athletes. During the 1988 Olympics, of
the 597 U.S. Team members, 67 athletes with symptoms of EIA were
responsible for winning 41 Olympic medals, including 15 gold and
21 silvers. This demonstrates that with proper medication and management,
athletes can participate at the highest level without their performance
Exercise-induced asthma is a respiratory disorder
characterized by recurring episodes of shortness of breath, wheezing
on expiration/inspiration, coughing, chest tightness, fatigue during
exercise, or productive mucous secretions. Symptoms can vary in
degree and can become more severe with rapid, shallow breathing,
difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness, and coughing.
Most people with asthma have symptoms when exercising,
especially if the air is cold and dry. Severe reactions are called
exercise-induced bronchospasms (EIB), which is an actual reduction
in pulmonary (lung) function as it relates to flow rate.
Exercise-induced asthma can be controlled with
prophylactic use of aerosol or oral bronchodialators, beta-adrenergic
drugs, or short-term use of corticosteroids. It is important that
a physician is consulted before using any form of drug or inhalant.
Other preventative methods include appropriate warm-up; the use
of a mask or muffler to warm inspired air in cold, dry climates;
and the avoidance of exercise when environmental pollutants are
present at elevated levels.
Scott Miller, M.S.P.T., SCS., C.S.C.S.
Board Certified Sports Clinical Specialist/Certified Strength and
Agility Physical Therapy and Sports Performance
There have been 19 heat related deaths among high
school and college football players since 1995. This includes Minnesota
Vikings tackle Korey Stringer, a well-conditioned professional athlete,
who is used to playing in high heat and wearing full gear.
What are athletes subject to?
Heat cramps –
Painful cramps involving abdominal muscles and extremities caused
by intense prolonged exercise in the heat and depletion of salt
and water due to sweating.
Heat Syncope –
Weakness, fatigue and fainting due to loss of salt and water in
sweating and exercise in the heat. Predisposed to heatstroke.
Heat Exhaustion –
Excessive weight loss, reduced sweating, weakness, headaches, vomiting,
dizziness and sometimes unconsciousness.
Heat Stroke –
An acute medical EMERGENCY related to thermoregulatory failure.
Associated with nausea, seizures, disorientation, and possible unconsciousness
65-72 degrees- moderate risks
74-82 degrees - high risk
82 plus degrees- very high risk
What to do incase of emergency.
Immediately cool the body (bring to cooler location)
Submerge athlete in cold water, or apply ice bags on the neck, in
the armpits and groin areas.
Can apply alcohol or cold water to skin and fan vigorously (causes
evaporation and cooling)
Consume 17 to 20 oz of water 2 to 3 hours
Consume 7 to 10 oz 10 minutes before exertion, same every 10 to
20 minutes during exercise.
Consume 20oz of water per pound loss within 2 hours after exercise.
Good nutrition will not replace a good training
program, effort, genetics, and personal drive. However, it is essential,
without question, when your goal is peak performance. As an athlete
you burn more energy, lose more fluids, and put greater stress on
the body's muscles, joints, and bones. Healthy eating will help
you improve your endurance, increase your strength, and prevent
The key to healthy eating is whole nutrient dense
The principal purposes of the nutrients in
the food we eat are to provide energy, build and repair body tissues,
and regulate metabolic processes in the body.
More than forty specific
nutrients are essential to life processes. They may be obtained in
the diet through consumption of the six major nutrient classes:
carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, & water.
The Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) should
not be construed to be an ideal diet plan, but they provide us
with a set of standards for our nutritional needs. New RDA are
being developed with the goal of promoting optimal health.
If most healthy individuals in a given population
consume wholesome, natural foods in amounts adequate to meet their
individual needs there will be little likelihood of nutritional
inadequacy or impairment of health.
The Food Guide Pyramid and the related Food
Exchange System-meat, milk, starch, fruit, vegetable, and fat-should
be viewed as an educational approach to help individuals obtain
proper nutrition. Foods of similar nutrient value are found in
each of the six exchanges.
There are eight key nutrients (protein, vitamin
A, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin C, calcium, and iron)
that, if adequate in the diet and obtained from wholesome foods,
should provide an ample supply of all nutrients essential to human
Some foods contain a greater proportion of
these key nutrients than other foods and thus have a greater nutrient
density or nutritional value.
Twelve general recommendations for healthier
nutrition include: (1) maintain or improve your body composition,
(2) consume a wide variety of foods, (3) choose a diet low in
total fat, saturated fats, and cholesterol, (4) choose a diet
with plenty of whole-grain products, legumes, fruits, and vegetables,
(5) choose a diet moderate in sugars, (6) choose a diet moderate
in salt and sodium, (7) drink alcoholic beverages in moderation,
if at all, (8) eat protein adequate to LBM and activity, (9) choose
a diet adequate in calcium and iron, (10) obtain fluoride, (11)
avoid excess dietary supplements, and (12) eat fewer foods containing
Vegetarians must be careful in selecting foods
in order to obtain a balanced mixture of amino acids and adequate
amounts of B12, calcium, iron, and zinc.
Vegetarian diets are based on healthful nutritional
concepts, but non-vegetarian diets may confer the same health
and performance benefits if animal foods are chosen carefully.
Fad diets such as high protein and low-fat
low fiber diets will not provide long term health benefits.
To give you an understanding of how exercise increases
your calorie needs the following represents approximate energy expenditure
in Calories per minute for increasing levels of exercise intensity
for an average adult male.
Resting metabolic rate
Sitting and writing
Walking at 2 mph
Walking at 3 mph
Running at 5 mph
Running at 10 mph
Running at 15 mph
Running at 20 mph
Maximal power weightlift
The majority of energy for sports and everyday
life should come from carbohydrates. They should supply 55 to 65
percent of your total energy needs. Protein should supply 15 to
20 percent of total energy needs. Fat should supply 20 to 25 percent
of calories. The following is a very general way of determining
- limited physical activity
Labor - strenuous physical effort
* Pregnant or lactating women: Add 3 calories
to these values.
How much fluid do I need?
2 to 2 ½ hours before activity
at least 2 cups of nonalcoholic fluids (water, juice,
just prior to or up 15 minutes before activity
2 cups of water or sports drink
every 15 minutes during activity
½ cup of water or sports drink
2 cups of water or preferably a high carbohydrate drink,
such as fruit juice, for every pound lost during your
activity; continue to drink fluids throughout the day,
until you return to your pre-exercise weight.
Know the signs of dehydration. Some of the early
signs are flushed skin, fatigue, increased body temperature, and
increased breathing and pulse rate, followed by dizziness, increased
weakness, and labored breathing with exercise. Replace fluids before
symptoms get too serious.
Here is an example of a balanced menu for one
Vegetarian or omnivore it's critical that your
diet provides adequate amounts of energy (carbohydrates, protein,
and fat), vitamins, and minerals. Without these essentials we will
fall short of optimal performance. The greater variety of foods
consumed the greater the source of these nutrients in our diet.
When animal products are still consumed, as is the case of lacto-ovo-vegetarians
and lacto-vegetarians these essential nutrients are still readily
available. Our concern in this article focuses on the active Vegan.
Vegans are strict vegetarians who consume no animal products.
Before we go into the details of vegan nutrition
we must answer an important question. Can a vegan diet supply your
body with enough nutrients? The answer is yes. But just like any
eating style you must choose your foods carefully. Once again the
diet must provide appropriate amounts of carbohydrates, protein,
fat, vitamins, and minerals. In a vegan diet we must pay close attention
to good sources of protein, vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, iron,
and zinc. Let's examine each of these in more detail.
Proteins are composed of amino acids. Our bodies
are made up of 20 different amino acids. Nine of these are essential;
they must come from our diet. The other eleven can be made by our
bodies as long as the essential nine our consumed. These amino acids
supply our bodies with the building blocks it needs to perform various
functions. These amino acids can be arranged in countless ways to
create different proteins with specialized roles. These proteins
are part of every cell and therefore every tissue in our body. These
tissues form our skin, muscle, bones, blood, and organs. For even
vegans adequate sources of protein should not be an issue. Plants
provide an abundant source of protein. Don't worry about having
to combine them with each meal either. Just as long as you eat a
variety of plant foods such as legumes, nuts, seeds, grains, vegetables,
and fruits. Whatever amino acid one food lacks another can provide
somewhere in the day's diet. One plant source of protein requires
special mention. Soybeans and products are the only plant source
that supplies all the essential amino acids in one food. Soy is
also the subject of much research related to its potential health
benefits. But don't forget our body can use protein for energy if
it must, so our diet must supply enough calories so as to spare
protein for its maintenance and building functions. Protein needs
are based on body weight, with special attention to body composition,
the amount of that weight which is muscle and fat. More than 1 gram
of protein per pound of body weight is not advised.
A bigger concern for vegans is vitamin B12,
also called cobalamin. B12 helps your body make red blood cells, use
fats and anion acids, and if found in every cell. Deficiency in vitamin
B12 will result in anemia and severe irreversible nerve damage. Although
abundant in animal products, B12 is in short supply in the fruits
and vegetables in the American diet. Plants only supply this nutrient
when B12 producing microorganisms are found clinging to fruits and
vegetables. In the U.S. fruits and vegetables are scrubbed clean and
therefore are missing these little critters. Most vegetarians need
to incorporate more reliable sources of B12 such as fortified breakfast
cereals, soy milk, or veggie burgers. When reading labels look for
cyanocobalamin, the most easily absorbed source of B12. Taking a B12
supplement that provides 100 percent of the Recommended Dietary Allowances
(RDA) is also an option. Be aware that some foods may contain vitamin
B12, but not in a form that the human body can use. This includes
seaweed, algae, spirulina, and fermented plant foods such as tempeh,
miso, and beer-even if the package claims it's a good source. Nutritional
yeast can be a good source of B12, but only if it is grown on a medium
that is enriched with B12. Most yeast used in baking is a poor source.
Make sure to check nutritional yeast out before using it as a source
of vitamin B12. Vitamin D is a crucial partner in maintaining
good bone health. It aids the body in the absorption of calcium and
phosphorus. Few foods are natural sources of Vitamin D. In the U.S.
milk is fortified with vitamin D, but this is not a choice for vegans.
Vegans need to look to some fortified cereals and soy beverages. A
vitamin D supplement is also an option, but consult with your doctor
or registered dietitian (RD) before hand. Vitamin D is fat-soluble
and amounts beyond the RDA are not advised, as they can be dangerous
and should be avoided.
Calcium is a nutrient
that has attracted lots of attention. Most of us understand it's
essential in forming and maintaining healthy bones. But where you
aware of its involvement in muscle contraction, transfer of nerve
impulses, blood clotting, contraction of the heart, and its role
in formation of healthy teeth in children. Believe it or not vegans
have some advantages when it comes to calcium. Animal proteins tend
to decrease calcium absorption and increase the amount of calcium
that is excreted into the urine. That is one of the many benefits
of soy protein in the vegan diet, its calcium sparing effect. Good
sources of calcium in the vegan diet include tofu processed with
calcium, calcium fortified soy beverages, broccoli, sunflower seeds,
nuts, legumes, some greens (kale, collards, mustard greens), okra,
rutabaga, bok choy, dried figs, tortillas (made from limed processed
corn), and calcium fortified orange juice and breakfast cereal.
Iron is a nutrient that often is lacking in not
only vegetarians but in the general population here in the U.S.
Iron is a crucial part of red blood cells. Red blood cells are crucial
players in the delivery of oxygen to tissues and subsequently the
production of energy. Bottom line, low iron leads to low energy.
We call this condition iron-deficiency anemia. Iron is found in
two forms heme and non-heme. Heme iron is found only in animal products
and is the better absorbed of the two. Vegans must rely on non-heme
iron, which requires some assistance to improve its absorption.
Step one is to consume foods that are good sources of iron such
as: legumes, iron-fortified breads and cereals (preferably whole
wheat), whole grains, tofu, some dark green leafy vegetables (spinach
and beet greens), seeds, prune juice, dried fruit, as well as blackstrap
molasses. The next step is to include vitamin C rich foods at every
meal. Vitamin C increases the absorption of non-heme iron. Some
examples include: citrus fruits or juices, broccoli, tomatoes, and
green pepper. A good breakfast might be cream of wheat and a glass
of orange juice. Iron can also be provided by cooking foods in iron
pots and skillets, especially when ingredients are acidic such a
tomatoes. Make sure to avoid drinking tea and coffee with meals
due to their antagonistic effect concerning the absorption of non-heme
iron. Some individuals may need to supplement with iron within the
The last nutrient that vegans must account for
with more diligence is Zinc. Not only is it essential for growth
and repair of cells, but is also involved with energy production
and is part of more than 70 enzymes controlling body processes.
Vegans must include a variety of foods rich in zinc including: whole-wheat
bread, whole grains, especially the germ and the bran, legumes,
tofu, seeds, and nuts in reasonable amounts. Make sure to consult
with your doctor or registered dietitian (RD) before supplementing
with zinc, which can be harmful in high dosages.
Once these problem areas are addressed vegan nutrition
is no different than a diet that includes animal products when approaching
activity. Variety is still the spice of life.
1. Duyff, RL. The American Dietetic Association's Complete Food
& Nutrition Guide. Mineapolis, MN: Chronimed Publishing.