One of the most annoying preconceptions about veganism is that it stops you from keeping up with an exercise regime. Maintaining a plant-based diet is obviously good for you in terms of keeping off weight, but it is still surprising how many people think that you either don?t have the energy to be able to exercise regularly ? or believe that being a vegan and being into exercise is mutually incompatible.
So, to get it out of the way immediately ? you can exercise if you are a vegan and you can do anything a non-vegan can do! Now that?s clear, here are a few more facts about exercising on a vegan diet and what you can do to optimize your regime.
Do you need dietary supplements?
One thing that is not understood when it comes to exercising as a vegan is the belief that having a plant-based diet stops you from getting all the proteins that you need. You can, of course, supplement your diet with multivitamins to boost your vitamin D and B-12 (amongst others) but there is no reason why you cannot get everything you need from your food and drink.
Protein helps with the regeneration and recovery of muscles after a workout so it is vitally important that your intake supplies this. Meat is obviously a very good way of getting protein into your body but if you are vegan there are plenty of other sources to choose from. Vegans can get their protein by eating spinach, hemp, nuts and seeds, quinoa and lentils, so there is no need to worry about your body not being able to recover simply because you don?t eat meat.
So we have seen that being a vegan has no bearing on your ability to commit to an exercise regime. But the problem sometimes ? for vegans and non-vegans alike ? is that people give up too easily. The plain fact is that exercise is supposed to be tough. If it were easy then it wouldn?t be doing you much good. Being a vegan is keeping you healthy but perseverance is needed to keep your exercise regime going.
The best thing to do is to not start off too fast. Many people give up because they haven?t lost a lot of weight straightaway ? or because they are unable to run more than a block without getting out of breath. You should realize that your body needs to adjust to exercise, especially if you are just beginning. Be honest and realistic about your goals and you will soon find that you are increasing the length of your workouts or training runs.
Tips and advice
Thanks to your vegan lifestyle you will probably already being eating healthily (although we all know that there is also vegan junk food to contend with!) but you need to know how to exercise properly to get the maximum amount of benefit.
Make sure you warm up and warm down before and after each exercise session. Whatever level of regime you are at you need to ensure that your muscles are warm enough to complete the tasks you are setting yourself. A good way to keep your muscles warm is to think about what you wear during the activity. Compression socks can help with the circulation while exercising and if you go for the copper wear versions you can also combat the inevitable odor issue as well!
You should always make sure that you are taking enough water on board to stay properly hydrated. Your body will be losing fluids as you exercise so drinking water after a workout is to be encouraged. You could also buddy up, using a friend to keep you both going when you are really starting to feel the pressure. This mutual support could be invaluable and they don?t even have to be a fellow vegan ? then we could really dispel all those tired ?vegans can?t exercise? myths! If you do prefer to exercise alone make sure that you are doing it in a safe environment. You could also prepare music playlists to inspire you while exercising.
Prove them wrong
Although it may not have been your main reason for choosing a vegan diet and lifestyle, it is undoubtedly a healthy way to live your life. You can exercise regularly to maintain the optimum level of fitness. Don?t listen to the critics ? be vegan and exercise. You?ll definitely feel the benefits.
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