13 Dec The Most Overlooked Aspect of Fitness Success

Off the top of your head, what do you think is the most overlooked component of being fit and “in shape”?  I’ll tell you it’s almost certainly this, sleep.

Most people just do not get the required rest that they need.  How important is it then to get the maximum benefit from your fitness training and nutritional habits?  Sometimes this is the forgotten element of total fitness and improved performance.  Besides the usual, “get the adequate rest” recommendation, how critical is it really?  Well training and optimal nutrition is definitely essential for your success, but sleep is a key piece of your program to maximize proper rest and recovery.

Proper rest is usually forgotten or overlooked in program design, but it is very important for a number of reasons,  Here’s a few problems that lack of proper sleep can contribute to:

  • not taking advantage of the proper nutritional intake, if adequate rest is not included.
  • decreased performance, of course, with lack of rest
  • decreased ability to metabolize certain nutrients, thus negatively effecting other body hormones that could have detrimental effects such as weight gain
  • lack of proper recuperation and recovery from exercise
  • increased stress

How’s that for a few adverse effects of not getting the right amount of rest.  It’s been estimated that nearly a quarter of adults are sleep deprived getting an average of only 6 hours of sleep per night when 7.5 to 9 is actually recommended.  I even read recently that a study demonstrated that 40% of Americans get less than 5 hours of sleep per night!  That’s 3-4 hours less then the recommended optimal sleep time.  Sleep deprivation can only do you no good.

So, how do you get 8 or 9 hours of sleep if your lifestyle is so busy?  Good question.  And how about the people that think they don’t require that much.  I’ve actually heard stories about people who may only need a few hours of sleep per night to operate at normal or highly productive functional level.

Well, truth be told, we all require the recommended 8-9 hours of sleep per night, even if there are others that swear they don’t need it.  Here are some tips that may help you get the sleep requirement you need to maximize your results and help you achieve your fitness goals:

  • regular and consistent exercise will help you sleep better
  • limit or eliminate alcohol consumption
  • avoid caffeine in the evening
  • manage stress (relaxation techniques)
  • establish normal sleep/wake schedules (this is a big one)
  • create an optimal environment for sleep

Now you know that sleep is a critical component to your fitness plan.  In addition to optimizing your workouts and your nutrition, getting proper rest is an essential element for the reasons I have mentioned.  Remember, that 8 hours is the recommendation to strive for.  Also, don’t forget the opportunity for a short nap, if you can do it.  A short 20 to 30 minute nap can be significantly refreshing and be just what you nee do properly rejuvenate.

How important is sleep?  It’s critical for your health and fitness success.

Day 13 of 31 Days of Smart Fitness is done.  This is challenging, but I’m almost half way there.  13 Days of continuous posts, whew!

I’ll be back tomorrow!

  • How to sleep
    Posted at 14:45h, 28 December Reply

    Very informative article, It really helps me out.

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