Endurance athletes have their own set of unique challenges and physical requirements that make them different from the average gym goer. Long-distance running and hiking can be very taxing to many different parts of the body, making it especially important for endurance athletes to study up on the various supplements that can aid them in these long, strenuous workouts. Here are a list of the best supplements to aid in performance and recovery during endurance activities.
The Best Supplements for Endurance Athletes
Omega-3 (Fish Oil)
Omega 3 fatty acids carry anti-inflammatory properties to aid in muscle recovery and joint health, which are both very important for endurance athletes. They also support brain and cardiovascular health. Omega 3 can be obtained by eating salmon, mackerel, walnuts, flax, and hemp seeds, but since most of us don’t eat these items every day, taking fish oil tablets can help make things easier.
Glutamine is a substance found in the blood plasma that supports your immune system. When you work out, glutamine is depleted from your body and has to be replaced. For most people this wouldn’t be a huge issue, but for distance runners, not having enough glutamine can decrease performance and lead to injuries. Glutamine helps enhance rehydration and recovery time, and also helps promote a healthy digestive system. If you are frequently sore and achy near the end of a long run, then consider taking L-Glutamine.
If you spend a lot of time performing endurance activities, then you are likely burning a significant amount of calories. Over time, if you don’t replenish these calories regularly, you run the risk of becoming calorie deficient and burning through lean muscle mass during strenuous workouts. BCAA’s, standing for Branched Child Amino Acids, help the body retain this muscle. BCAA’s are mostly comprised of leucine, the primary amino acid responsible for activating muscle protein synthesis. This in turn, helps muscle building and also aids in recovery. Overall, BCAA’s will provide you with more energy to your muscles and reduce fatigue during long runs.
Celadrin specifically improves joint health by increasing flexibility. Joints are one of the most important areas of the body for distance runners to keep healthy. Celadrin helps joints at the cellular level by lubricating the cell membranes that cushion bones and joints, reducing the potential for injury. It also benefits the muscles, tendons and deep tissue. If you occasionally experience pain in the knees or ankles during a long run, then celadrin would be a great place to start.
Calcium is another no-brainer supplement to take for joint and bone health. Runners are constantly dealing with injuries like stress fractures that can be linked directly to bone health. Without enough calcium in the body, strenuous exercise can lead to injuries and even bone loss. Taking calcium can help reduce the risk of bone fractures and keeps the body fortified with nutrients. It is commonly known that calcium can be obtained by drinking milk, but since most adults don’t drink a large amount of milk on its own, calcium supplements can be a great boost.
Be sure to check out our hand-picked list of supplements designed for runners, and as always, check out our blog for more fitness tips!