If you are an avid exerciser, and I know you are, one of the most important things you can do for your body is to allow recovery and recharge time. Taking time to let your body recover helps prevent injuries, burn out and induces healing.
In this life of go-go-go, it can be hard to find time to chill-out, relax and get enough sleep. But, not doing these things is a recipe for body and soul deterioration. Balancing your up-time with quality downtime is essential for your well-being on every level.
Sleep to Recharge
Getting enough sleep on a regular basis, not just on the weekends, is super important forstellar health and recovery. When you are asleep, your body heals. It’s hard at work repairing and recharging. Studies have shown that healthy sleep habits actually ‘reboot’ your brain, making room for new knowledge. I see sleep as a key to a successful life, which includes your fitness, your health, your relationships and your career.
It’s imperative to have a bedtime routine to wind down from your day and to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Your bedroom is a place for sleeping, not working or watching TV. Turning your bedroom into a sanctuary will help you to have quality sleep and recovery time. Turn your electronics off at least an hour before bed, or better yet remove them from your room all-together. Yes, you can live without your cell phone by your bedside table, I promise.
Focus on engaging in a calming activity before bed such as reading, doing crossword puzzles, journaling, light stretching or meditating. This will help your brain to slow down, which in-turn will help to increase productivity as well as induce deeper, more quality snooze time.
Lack of Sleep Sucks
Lack of sleep depletes important hormones in the body, which are responsible for regulating hunger. Did you ever notice that when you don’t sleep, that you crave sugar and carbs? Your lack of zzz’s reduces insulin sensitivity and inhibits your body’s ability to break down carbs properly, so you store them as fat instead of burning them.
Studies have also shown that lack of sleep is a pre-cursor for disease and illness. Your immune system becomes depleted leaving you susceptible to colds and other illnesses. Lack of sleep does not help you to stay on top of life, and The Big Picture.
When I talk about recovery, I don’t want you lying around like a sloth eating Cheetos and drinking beer. Recovery is all about engaging in things to support your body in recovering. Sleep is a great start.
Here are some other ways you can help your body recover after a hard workout, or if you have an injury:
Foam Rolling: As you know if you’ve done P90X2, I’m a huge fan of foam rolling. In fact, I incorporate it into my routine almost daily.
Massage: Getting a massage is a great way to support the body in it’s own natural healing process. And it's great relaxation time away from electronics, to-do lists and the pressures of life.
Light Stretching or yoga: If you’ve done a hardcore workout and feel sore, the best thing to do is stretch those tight muscles. Not doing anything will make them worse because the lactic acid will just continue to build up and create more tightness and pain.
Supplements: Some supplements are great to help the body repair and rebuild. Beachbody’s recovery drink is awesome to mix up right after a workout to give the muscles the glycogen they need. Magnesium is also great for helping the muscles relax and to relieve cramping.
Epsom Salt Bath: Taking a bath in Epsom salts will help your stiff muscles soften and melt. The magnesium and sulfate is absorbed directly into the skin helping the muscles to relax and your nervous system will be soothed as well, so there are numerous benefits to doing this.
If you really want to rock your workouts and have a body that works with you, instead of against you, as well as reducing the risk for injury, engaging in any of these suggestions will help that.
I’d love to hear what your sleep routine is. Let me know on my Facebook Page.