Endurance sports are characterized by prolonged activity over time that constantly "consume" energy and nutrients in proportion to the duration of the physical performance and/or exercise. Endurance sports, while differing in several disciplines, they share some basic points: duration, oxygen consumption and energy expenditure related to fatigue.
Aerobic metabolism, from the biochemical point of view, mainly occurs through the oxidation of sugars and fats ingested through the diet.
In order to ensure an adequate performance over time, endurance sports athletes’ body need the correct amounts of carbohydrate before, during and after physical exercise. Carbohydrate is used as a substrate by the body to obtain energy and can be characterized according to its structure (simple or complex), and rate of absorption.
Examples of carbohydrate are maltodextrins that are more or less long glucose polymers classified on the basis of dextrose equivalent (DE), then there are starches, also complex carbohydrate, they consist of amylose and amylopectin polymers (made of glucose monomers).
Some products made of carbohydrate are specifically suitable for endurance adult sportsmen performing intense and/or prolonged exercise involving muscle fatigue and depletion of glycogen stores in skeletal muscle.
Carbohydrate in these products in fact is metabolized by the body and contributes to the recovery of normal muscle function (contraction) after intense and/or prolonged exercise. The use of these products is specific as post-workout and in particular to obtain the claimed beneficial effect it is necessary to take an amount of carbohydrate from all sources in total equivalent to 4 g per kg of body weight, with an intake in doses to be initiated within 4 hours of an intense and/or prolonged exercise, however, it has to be concluded within 6 hours after exercise.
Other important issues for those who practice endurance sports are hydration, hydro saline balance: it is recommended the integration of liquids and mineral salts during physical performance and throughout the day.
The products (foods or food supplements) which are carbohydrate and electrolyte solutions, such as isotonic drinks, contribute to the maintenance of endurance performance during prolonged exercise and also increase water absorption during physical exercise. Also potassium and magnesium food supplements are great for the integration of these two minerals that not only contributes to normal muscle function, but also electrolyte balance (magnesium).
Eventually, in the athlete's recovery phase, even for endurance sports, it is suggested the integration (over 18 years of age) with foods and food supplements of protein that contribute to the growth and maintenance of muscle mass and single amino acids and in particular amino acid derivatives such as beta-alanine and carnosine and also carnitine.
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