Thursday, 7 February 2013

The Importance of Sleep

With winter drawing in, cold dark nights looming, people everywhere are getting into hibernation mode. Everyone except those athletes whose training continues, regardless of cravings for duvets, biscuits and chocolate.

Sleep aids muscle repair, memory conditioning and hormone regulation for growth and appetite. The functionality of the body the day after sleep depends on how long and how well a person sleeps; the average amount for adults is 7.5 hours per night. Say what? Notice that 7.5 hours is for the average adult too – athletes of any level will require more than average rest. Especially if you are one of those lucky sorts juggling work and rugby.

It may seem like I’m stating the obvious but sleep deprivation is one of the most common lifestyle problems in athletes of any sport, especially at amateur level. It’s definitely not something to ignore. Sleep loss contributes to many of the defects athletes experience in their training and performance and can consequently hinder their overall progress as athletes.

There are many side-effects to sleep deprivation – mood swings, lack of concentration, rate of fatigue in training, just to name a few. Work life too, will be affected which can create a spiral of decline in our ability to function at a high level on a daily basis, physically and cognitively.
It’s especially difficult for an amateur athlete to maintain the balance because they’re juggling a whole host of necessary duties day to day. Training, matches, work, family, friends, and down-time are all part of the regular routine of an amateur’s life.
The way I get around this issue is through planning and choices (not sacrifices). I set myself a desirable bed time for every evening depending on what I have the next day.
If I know I’m getting up early for training, it means I can’t go out for dinner with my friends that night in case I get home late; my friends don’t need as much sleep as I do it seems. “What’s the big deal Nigel? It’s only dinner with friends, relax!” I hear you say. That’s the approach I used to have too, until I noticed my performance level and attitude in the gym wasn’t my best.

There will be many choices like this for you day to day. Places to be, people to see. Choices are easy to make – generally as human beings we do what we want to do. Sometimes though, you’ve got to put your body first. I use the term choice rather than sacrifice because I believe whatever decision I make now will help towards the bigger picture – world domination.

A little bit of sleep goes a long way and a lot of sleep goes even further. So listen to your body and plan ahead.
If you don’t believe me, sleep on it…then get back to me.

Please Comment on This, Tell me Youre Thoughts!

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Hints for a Greater WellBeing!

Are you eager for some tips on achieving greater well-being and overall fitness?
Consider this check list of healthy habits and suggestions for making the right
choices and, more importantly, sticking with them to improve your long term health

Maintain a Healthy Body Weight

This is one of the most important healthy habits you can develop at any stage of life, from childhood through the golden years.
Avoiding extra weight and obesity will help you maintain your health and can help prevent a number of health problems, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. You'll also feel better without extra weight putting pressure on your joints and organs. A healthy diet, without excess fat and calories, and regular exercise can help you control your weight.

Eat Smaller Portions

Maintaining a healthy diet and cutting back on portion sizes can help you achieve many of your health goals, such as having a slim figure and keeping your cholesterol in check and your blood pressure down. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins to ensure a wide variety of nutrients and avoid excess calories.
Another healthy eating tip is to control carbohydrates throughout the day, We suggests that controlling carbohydrates may work better than restricting overall calories. Make sure you eat small portions of carbohydrates throughout the day rather than getting most of your carbohydrates in one sitting. Your blood sugar is less likely to spike if your carbohydrates are spread throughout the day.

Exercise, Exercise, Exercise

Fitness is one of the basic building blocks of good health. Exercise will help you stay trim and sleep better, and it will ward off disease and ease stress. In addition, exercising at least 150 minutes a week can reduce your risk of developing diabetes.
Set goals and stick to a schedule: You should exercise at least four to six days a week, for at least 30 to 60 minutes each day. If you don't exercise regularly already here are some ways to get started: Get up early in the morning and start your day with a workout, recruit a buddy to exercise with you, and try fun new activities like a class in martial arts or spinning.
Maintaining a healthy body weight by means of a nutritious diet and regular exercise accounts for about 90 percent of a healthy lifestyle,  that's how important these healthy habits are to your overall well-being.

Head to Bed

Here's a healthy habit that's easy to embrace: Get enough sleep. Without consistent sleep, your stress levels rise and your body can't function as well as it should, leaving you vulnerable to disease and illness.
Set a regular sleep schedule for yourself with a consistent bedtime and wake-up time. Make sure your bedroom is conducive to sleep by keeping it dark, quiet, and comfortable and banishing TVs, computers, and other stimulants and stresses.

Inside and Outside Care

Take care of every part of your body, including your skin and teeth, and don’t neglect your mind.
·      Get regular dental check ups, and brush and floss frequently to protect your teeth from decay and disease.
·      Give equal importance to your mental health, and do your best to keep stress under control. People who exercise regularly, generally find that their stress levels are lower. Meditation, yoga, and simply having fun with friends and family are also ways to manage emotional health.

Stay Social

This is particularly important for older people, who tend to feel isolated when they live alone or can't get out and about as much as they used to. Engaging in activities that put you in contact with your peers, like golfing and dancing, actually seems to reduce the risk of developing dementia.

By practising these habits every day, you’ll enjoy the benefits of better health now and for years to come.