21 Injury prevention tips
Brian Mackenzie provides some advice on how to be proactive in preventing injury
Brian Mackenzie provides some advice on the role and importance of iron
Iron deficiency is a common problem for the trained athlete, in particular females and those on restricted diets. Iron is extremely important for the transportation of oxygen in haemoglobin as well as for the anaerobic supply to the muscle and myoglobin. A lack of iron will severely limit energy metabolism. A report ("Nutrition and performance: iron, the essential element for the energy metabolism.' Sport and Medicine Today, 1999, vol. 2, no. 1, p. 42) discusses the importance of iron and explains how to avoid iron deficiency.
The common symptoms are:
Avoiding iron deficiency is relatively simple. Two types of dietary iron exist, heme and non-heme iron. Heme iron can be found in meat and fish, while non-heme is available in leafy green vegetables such as spinach (hence the reference to Popeye). Increasing the amount of iron-rich foods in your diet will go a long way to keeping anaemia at bay. However, it is important to remember that certain foods interfere with the absorption of iron and should be avoided when eating iron-rich foods. Foods to avoid are cereals and wheat products containing phyates, and products such as tea and coffee that contain tannins. Supplementation is an alternative option to increasing your dietary intake of iron, though it can cause an upset stomach, and in severe cases use of large doses can cause stomach tissue damage. As with any supplement, it's sensible to make a positive change in the diet rather than reaching for the quick fix.
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About the Author
Brian Mackenzie is a British Athletics level 4 performance coach and a coach tutor/assessor. He has been coaching sprint, middle distance and combined event athletes for the past 30+ years and has 45+ years' experience as an endurance athlete.
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