Have You Ever Wondered

. . . if heavy training causes "sports anemia"? Perhaps, in the early stages of training. However, "sports anemia" isn't really anemia. Because blood volume increases in the early weeks of endurance training, iron concentration in blood dilutes slightly as your body adapts to more physical activity.

If you develop sports anemia, that's normal. It will disappear once your training program is off and running. With endurance training your blood's capacity to carry oxygen and your athletic performance will improve. Taking iron supplements isn't helpful or advised.

Feeling tired may result from other aspects of training. If fatigue persists, or if you think you're at risk for other types of anemia, including iron-deficiency anemia, check with your doctor. See "Anemia: Tired Blood'"in chapter 22.

risk for developing stress fractures, decreased bone mineral density, and other bone problems.

Women: For your bones' sake, pay attention if your periods stop. Talk to your doctor. This is not a normal outcome of physical activity. Stress fractures caused by weakened bones may seriously affect your physical performance. And the long-range impact on bone health: increased osteoporosis risk. For bone health, your doctor may recommend a higher calcium intake, or perhaps a calcium supplement. See "Osteoporosis: Reduce the Risks" in chapter 22.

Supplements: Not"Energy-Charged"

Contrary to unscientific claims, there's likely no need for vitamin or mineral supplements for sports if you're already well nourished. The "extra" won't offer an energy boost or added physical benefits—immedi-ately or over the long run. Even if you're deficient in one or more nutrients, popping a supplement pill right before physical activity has no immediate effect.

Although B vitamins help your body use energy from food, no vitamin supplies energy. Since you likely eat more when you're physically active, you'll get the extra B vitamins you need from food—if your food choices are nutrient-rich. Just choose from MyPyramid's five food groups.

If you decide to take a supplement, choose a "multi" with no more than 100 percent of the Daily Values (DVs) for vitamins and minerals—unless your doctor prescribes more for special health reasons. See "Dietary Supplements: What Are They?" in chapter 23.

Push Your Limits

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