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Triathletes Need to Consume Carbohydrates

This subject is topical at the moment with the Olympic Games in full swing. The triathlon is a popular sport where spectators admire the determination of athletes to push through the pain barrier and keep on going to the finish. Little work has been done on understanding how much damages is done to the body.

The half triathlon also called the intermediate or Standard distance run at the Olympics has become popular with many who just want to keep fit. Tests show significant reduction in knee extensor and flexure muscle strength at the end of an event. The ability to jump up off the ground is also reduced.

Considering dehydration and stores of carbohydrates which have been lost it is no surprise that weakness continues for some time after competing. However, dehydration was only minor in tested athletes. It seems the fat and muscle loss is the main cause. Participants in triathlons should concentrate on ingesting carbohydrates as well as fluid. Keeping blood glucose high has been found to maintain muscle force. Male athletes improved their race times by consuming carbohydrates. This was not the case for females. The reason for this is not clearly understood. Female metabolism must preserve carbohydrate stores even during strenuous exercise, but carbohydrate intake is recommended for women during an event.
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