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May 19

Sport With Cold: What Foods To Take

How the heat influences our body while we play sports, you’ve heard us speak on many occasions. But, do you know what happens to your body when practicing sport in a cold environment? What foods are we going to take when we play sports with cold? That’s what the following lines are about.

What is considered a cold environment?

The cold is much better supported while we do sport: the muscle movement creates heat and that keeps the body at the right temperature. However, sometimes exposure to the sun or wind speed is also influenced by cold sensation.

Thermal sensation obtained by relating temperature to wind speed:

Thus, at the same temperature of -10ºc you can have a temperature sensation -12.5ºc if the wind has a speed of 8km / h or -30ºc if there is a strong wind of 40km / h. In each case, despite being at the same temperature the body will react in a different way and will have different needs.

The organism in a cold environment

The human being, in order to function correctly, tries to maintain its central temperature (head, thorax and abdomen) stable around 37ºc for it, in case of being a cold environment uses 2 methods: vasoconstriction and heat production by thermogenesis.

Vasoconstriction: the skin is very vascularized and has a blood flow that varies depending on whether you want to transport more or less heat from the inside to the skin. In this case, the flow low so that the skin temperature decreases and the less temperature difference with the environment, the less heat is lost. In other words, the skin serves as an insulator.

This vasoconstriction also causes less flow to the adipose tissue which results in less free fatty acids and the body may rely more on carbohydrates.

Thermogenesis: the body, when noticing a lower temperature in the environment, tries to create more heat through:

Hormonal thermogenesis: hormonal mechanisms are triggered which generally an increase of our basal metabolism but this is not enough to keep us warm so we have to resort to muscle work.

Contractile muscle thermogenesis: involuntary muscular movements (thrushes) or volunteers (jumping, moving or practicing sports) that we generate to keep us warm.

Sport With Cold: What Foods To TakeFeeding considerations in cold environments

Cold sport

As we have seen, the body generates multiple reactions that are important to understand in order to know how to feed or supplement when exercising in a cold environment. Must take into account:

Energy: athletes who practice sports in cold environment will have a higher caloric expenditure due to increased basal metabolism and because of the shivering. Although this is clearly mitigated by the effect of clothing that will cause us to lose less heat, it is important that when doing sports at these temperatures the calorie intake is greater.

Carbohydrates: as discussed above, the cold can produce tremors to increase thermogenesis so the speed of use of our glycogen stores may increase. That is why it is advisable to take carbohydrates during sports, which will help maintain the blood glucose level, essential for the production of heat by shivering and to prevent fatigue.

Hydration: this environment can make you feel the need to drink but you have to think that the cold accompanied by wind can favor dehydration so you drink frequently during exercise, preferably isotonic drinks that will also provide carbohydrates and electrolytes, is essential when practicing sport in cold environment.

Vasodilator food: vasoconstriction is one of the mechanisms that the body has to defend against the cold therefore, despite what is popularly thought, alcohol should be avoided or foods very spicy when we face these temperatures since they produce vasodilation, the opposite effect to the desired, which produces a sensation of momentary heat by the increase of blood flow to the skin but, finally, it will make us lose even more body heat.

In all cases, when doing sport you have to take into account the optimal diet and supplementation to perform to the maximum, but when the sport is performed in an extreme environment this becomes even more essential. For this it is important to know what happens to your body and adapt your diet to this situation.

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