Sports and calcium, never one without the other!

lCalcium is “the” essential mineral for good health for everyone. It plays a fundamental role in the building and stiffness of bones and teeth from childhood to old age. Bone is a living tissue where calcium is eliminated and replaced every day according to the daily dietary intake. The balance and firmness of the bone are thus maintained if the calcium is correctly fixed.

Since bone reaches its maximum density between the ages of 20 and 25, it is recommended to have maximum bone mass at this age. Regular exercise is essential for this. Indeed, sport promotes the fixation of calcium, which strengthens the bone system and reduces the risk of fractures in case of falls, bumps, twists. Physical training seems like a real promise for the future, the promise of a solid skeleton into old age!

Calcium needed

If the calcium requirement of a woman or man is around 900 mg per day, the need is greater in athletes, around 1200 mg (just like in teenagers or women who are pregnant) and up to 1500 mg in an endurance athlete or body builder. How to explain it? Because the muscles in athletes are regularly used and calcium also has the function of contributing to their proper contraction (especially to prevent cramps).

And if the latter is in insufficient quantity, the athlete’s performance decreases significantly, because the quality of muscle contractions inevitably decreases. In addition, calcium also intervenes in another mechanism that is essential for the athlete: that of the production of energy. Thus, by participating in the breakdown of glycogen into glucose, it provides the body with a store of energy.

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Finally, it contributes to proper blood flow, regulation of blood pressure, proper functioning of the nervous system and allows the body to function at full capacity! If calcium is useful for athletes, exercise has positive effects on the fixation of calcium. This was also highlighted in a 2007 study conducted by Mahidol University in Thailand. Researchers have shown that a sedentary lifestyle, such as low calcium intake, slows bone development and accelerates their decline, and even more so with age. The role of nutrition is essential.

How to supplement with calcium?

Calcium must be supplied by a varied, simple and balanced diet, as the body does not synthesize calcium. In athletes, the needs are higher, because regular exercise increases the daily needs. And even more so in women athletes who help with a shortage of female hormones at the time of menopause, see the risk of fractures increase exponentially (ladies, as a precaution, do a full assessment of osteoporosis).

Every day, every athlete should therefore try to include at least three servings of foods that are a source of calcium in their diet. Where to find them? In all dairy products (preferably goat or sheep milk versions, which are less anti-inflammatory, in cheeses, yogurt and curds, and one per meal), seafood, sardines, green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, watercress, dried fruit (apricots, figs, etc.), oilseeds (almonds, hazelnuts, etc.), whole grain products (bread or pasta) and certain mineral waters (Hépar, Contrex, etc.) as well as vegetable juices enriched with calcium.

To avoid…

Be careful, to make up for your deficiency, it is better to avoid (without banning them but by limiting their consumption) certain decalcifying foods such as red meat, cold meats, carbonated and sugary drinks, too salty or industrial food. Finally, don’t forget to expose yourself to the sun for at least twenty minutes a day, if possible, because vitamin D binds calcium to the bones.

Finally, be careful, because calcium deficiency is silent and synonymous with slow bone erosion. Mechanical overload or intensive training, especially in old age, does the rest and can be the cause of bone injuries.

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