Athletes, Sports Fans and Spectators... Listen up!

Whether you are an aspiring Chelsea football player or a future Wallaby – or even a committed wife, girlfriend, friend or spectator at a sports match this weekend – look after your body by remembering the benefits of Magnesium.

Wallabies.jpg

I’d be lying if I said I go to sport matches for the sport itself – I don’t! I go for the atmosphere – which is often electric at live sporting matches; from your local Saturday comps through to Olympic events! I go because, from the comfort of your seat, you and your friends get to shake your head at the players for their fitness or skill “falling short”. And, of course, the dressing up, or lack of. Ladies are accepted at sporting matches in comfy old jeans and a baggy jumper, with no expectation that the hair and face will be done. And then there’s the greasy food and cheap beer!   

The one thing that can be forgotten in all this hype is our body. Whether you are the athlete or the spectator magnesium cannot be forgotten! I know, I know, you aren’t really meant to have favourites but I do – because magnesium is a key nutrient, which so many of us are deficient in.  Magnesium deficiency, along with zinc, is the most common mineral deficiency in the UK, and three quarters of the American population do not meet the recommended daily intake of magnesium, with similar figures suggested for Australia. 

Every single cell in our body needs magnesium for energy, whether we’re on the football field, doing a spin class, or supporting from the sideline. Magnesium supports athletic performance and muscle recovery by allowing muscles to relax. For this reason it can be used therapeutically to improve physical performance, support muscle relaxation, and reduce spasms and cramps. Magnesium can also boost immunity, improve bone and teeth health, reduce inflammation, improve detoxification pathways, improve cardiac health and support overall health and wellbeing. 

 Source: Kitchenbutterfly via Flickr

Source: Kitchenbutterfly via Flickr

So how do you do it? Well, you can increase your consumption of magnesium through your diet by including good quality green-leaf vegies, grains, wholemeal rice and wholemeal bread, legumes, peas, beans and nuts. You can make smarter food choices to increase your intake of magnesium. For example, wholemeal bread has twice as much magnesium in it than typical white bread!  And I know there’s often the smell of smoky onion and the sight of sizzling sausages on the BBQ tempting you at the local Rugby, or a meat pie to be had watching a Test match – you don’t have to deny yourself if it’s a treat, just try to stick to one rather than a few.

Another simple, affordable way for increasing your magnesium levels is magnesium bath salts – this is called transdermal magnesium; magnesium is literally absorbed through the skin straight into the cells!  Just dissolve a good cup worth of salts in a warm bath and enjoy! As well as increasing your magnesium levels, it is great way to soothe sore, aching, inflamed muscles and it’s also very useful for dry skin, as well as eczema and psoriasis. Bath salts also reduce stress; on both a physical and mental level. You can use bath salts as a way to maintain magnesium levels, or use it after a sporting event, but for therapeutic benefits make sure you try to do it at least a couple of times a week.

Remember that when you are stressed your body uses more magnesium and vitamin C to release the stress hormones, such as adrenaline, cortisol, etc., so look after yourself – increase your magnesium intake as well as increasing your exercise and bath time to support your magnesium levels! Sometimes there is good reason to both exercise hard and spectate hard! 

Beware – there are loads of magnesium supplements available, however some are far more absorbable than others, so if you think you need further supplementation don’t self-diagnose and prescribe, see a naturopath to make sure you’re getting the best product for your requirements. 

 

Olivia McFadyen, based in Mosman on Sydney's Lower North Shore, is a qualified Naturopath, Nutritional Therapist, Herbalist and Homoeopath. Whilst Olivia is a qualified Naturopath and Nutritionist, she is also a realist and understands the demands of modern day life, offering nutrition, herbal medicine and homoeopathic consultations and support without compromising on the enjoyment food can bring. She is passionate about supporting patients to reach their lifestyle goals, optimise their health & develop a healthy yet balanced way of life through naturopathy and homoeopathy. She services her clients by offering 4 and 12 week natural health programs from her clinic in Mosman on Sydney's Lower North Shore.