According to the World Health Organization, adults between the ages of 18 and 64 need at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week, devoting two or more days to muscle-strengthening activities on a weekly basis. Engaging in activities like walking, running, jogging, cycling, and other athletic pursuits can reduce the risk of countless health conditions, as well as improve heart, bone, and muscular health.
You might feel bored with your fitness routine or you simply aren’t seeing the results, despite all your best efforts. For many active people, this is where supplements can make a difference.
Benefits of supplements
Currently, around 25 percent of US adults surveyed say that working out is part of their daily routine. But even if you exercise frequently and work all the right muscles at the gym, you might not be satisfied with your gains.
A 2017 consumer survey conducted by the Council on Responsible Nutrition shows that 76 percent of US adults are now consuming dietary supplements. This represents an all-time high and a 5 percent increase from the year prior. Although supplements aren’t always necessary for a great workout, many can improve your performance and overall health. If you’re frustrated with your lack of progress and want a way to enhance your athletic performance, there are specific supplements you can try adding to your nutritional regimen.
Creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid found in the body’s muscles and brain. Most people get creatine through eating meat, dairy, eggs, and seafood. However, supplement manufacturers have created a synthetic form that can enhance muscle building and overall strength.
Creatine is beneficial for athletes who need more power during short bursts of activity. For weight lifting and sprinting, creatine can be helpful. While it’s not typically well-suited for endurance activities like swimming or long-distance running, it can be an effective nutritional aid in many other exercise tasks. In addition, vegetarians — who aren’t always able to maintain natural creatine levels from their diet alone — might benefit from this supplement.
You might be surprised to learn that a cup of coffee can have a positive impact on your workout. But caffeine is actually the main ingredient in many supplements, weight loss products, and performance enhancements.
Those who rely on their morning joe are well aware that caffeine makes you feel more awake. In the field of sports medicine, caffeine is also great for helping you stave off feelings of fatigue when exercising. Caffeine stimulates the brain, making you feel more focused during your workout, and provides you with the energy you need to get through a particularly tough routine. It can allow you to exercise with the same level of intensity for a longer period, thus helping you get more out of your time at the gym. While overdoing your caffeine intake can have adverse effects for many, these supplements are considered both safe and beneficial for those who want to take their workouts to the next level.
Many people are already aware of the general health benefits that fish oil supplements can provide. Because they’re high in omega-3 fatty acids, they’ve been shown to improve heart health and blood pressure. Even if you aren’t athletically inclined, taking these supplements can be a good move.
But they’re also vital for bodybuilders as well as endurance and elite athletes. One study involving elite female soccer players found that docosahexaenoic acid (one of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil) can be beneficial in athletics that require fast decision-making and reaction time. Fish oil supplements can also produce neuromuscular improvement, reduce inflammation, and aid weight loss. In other words, this little supplement is anything but fishy — it could help you reach your goals and recover more quickly.
Of course, supplements cannot and should not replace a healthy diet. But in many cases, select supplements can improve your overall health and even make your workouts more effective.