Importance Of Sleep In A Healthy Lifestyle

Sleep is a naturally reoccurring state of mind and body, known by relatively inhibited sensory activity, inhibition of most voluntary muscles, as well as reduced interactions with surroundings. Without any form of doubt, we all know that sleep is of vital importance in having a healthy lifestyle.

It is different from being awake, by a decreased reaction to stimuli, but is, however, more reactive than being in a coma or conscious disorders. During sleep, most of the body’s systems are in an anabolic state (buildup of tissues), in order to restore the immune, nervous, skeletal, and muscular systems to their top state; this process helps to maintain memory, mood, as well as cognitive function, and also to play a large role in functioning of the endocrine and immune systems.

Sleep deprivation, on the other hand, occurs when an individual gets less sleep than they need to feel awake and alert. When a person does not get enough sleep to feel awake and alert, they begin to experience symptoms of sleep deprivation. The main symptom is excessive daytime sleepiness, but other symptoms include:

  • Yawning 
  • irritability 
  • fatigue 
  • depressed mood 
  • reduced sex drive
  • moodiness 
  • difficulty learning new concepts 
  • forgetfulness inability to concentrate 
  • lack of motivation clumsiness 
  • increased appetite and carbohydrate cravings 

Sleep deprivation can negatively affect a range of systems in the body, causing the following impact or effects on a healthy lifestyle:

  • Sleep deprivation can result in an increased risk of respiratory diseases.
  • A lack of sleep can affect body weight. The two hormones, leptin and ghrelin, are responsible for hunger and satiety (fullness) and the levels of these hormones are affected by sleep. It also causes the release of insulin, which leads to increased fat storage and a higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Sleep helps the heart vessels to heal and rebuild as well as influences the processes that maintain blood pressure and even sugar levels.
  • Insufficient sleep can affect hormone production, which includes growth hormones and testosterone in men. Also, it also prevents the body from strengthening the immune system by producing more cytokines to fight infection. This can mean a person can take longer to recover from illness as well as having an increased risk of chronic illness.

The benefits of good sleep to a healthy lifestyle, are particularly obvious for people that are usually involved in intense physical activities such as athletes. Studies have shown that after-exercise recovery with extra sleep improves the buildup of muscle, strength, as well as increase in endurance. On the other hand, sleep deprivation causes athletes to suffer from poorer reaction times, longer recovery times, and terrible performances. Humans may suffer from various sleep disorders, including dyssomnias such as insomnia, hypersomnia, narcolepsy, and sleep apnea; parasomnias such as sleepwalking and REM behavior disorder; bruxism; and circadian rhythm sleep disorders.

In general, it is without doubt to say that sleep is essential for the general wellbeing of the body and even the mind. Therefore, it is important to ensure that you sleep well.

Reference:

https://www.tuck.com/Sleep-And-Athletes/

The Difference Between Strength and Power

The Difference Between Strength and Power

Strength and power, as much as the two sounds similar, are actually very different. 

If you’ve had an argument in the gym, the ring or even the bar that the two cannot be interchanged, you’ll be happy to know that you’re not in the wrong. 

Strength and power, although are often used as synonyms are far from it and when we dive into the definitions – it’s easy to understand the difference and how to measure the pair. We’ve compared and contrasted the two so that you don’t have to keep on googling and trawling the web. 

Muscle Strength

If we’re going to get scientific about it, muscle strength is defined as the maximum amount of force that a muscle can exert against a form of resistance in one single effort. This is what you expect from a traditional conversation about maximum strength and the one rep max effort.

Testing muscle strength is usually in the form of a variety of compound or olympic lifts with the maximum load in a single lift classifying muscle strength. Whether that comes in the form of maximum bench press, squat, deadlift or power clean, there’s plenty of exercises used as standards for measurements. 

Strength training is heavily weight related with a focus on low reps and numerous sets with personalized and custom training plans depending on the areas of strength improvements required. If the strength improvement is required for the squat for example, more heavy squats are to be cleverly implemented into a routine for development in the area. 

So put simply, strength is the maximum load that our bodies can press, lift or push for a single repetition. 

Muscle Power

Muscle power on the other hand is defined as the product of dynamic muscular force and muscle contraction velocity. When measuring power, the speed at which the muscle contracts is multiplied with the force is exerts.

With recent research from Tufts University, we now know that power is a much better indicator when compared to strength for a number of performance tasks and athletic movements. Power is required for every sport under the sun, whether that’s football, golf and even darts – to an extent. 

Training for power can include plyometrics such as depth jumps, hurdles, lateral hops etc. Of course power training does depend on the sport chosen and the requirements on the body that the specific sports request.  

Simply put, power is the combination of force and speed and so does require strength to be more effective.

The takeaway

To conclude, strength is the maximum load that can be lifted, pushed or pulled for a single repetition whereas power is the speed at which muscles contract multiplied by the force produced. Power therefore requires strength to be effective and to build movements in athletic performance. 

Training for strength requires a clever implementation of low rep, high set exercising with a focus on compound movements. When focusing on power, bodyweight and lower weight plyometrics with speed can be implemented into a routine for improvements in power.

Why Use A Foam Roller: The Benefits & Effects Foam Rolling Has On Our Body

Welcome to the 21st century – a time when gym equipment got a lot better. A time when everything is more compact, convenient and fitness-friendly. Nowadays, this type of equipment can cure all of the common fitness problems – including muscle soreness.

We have all experienced this type of soreness, commonly one or two days after an intense workout. One of the best answers to treating this muscle soreness, however, is a piece of equipment known as a foam roller.

Below, we are talking more about foam rollers and their benefits.

The Benefits Of Foam Rolling

Also known as self-myofascial release, foam rolling is a technique that transformed the fitness world – with many professional athletes, coaches and therapists recommending it as a form of exercise for people of all fitness levels.

The truth is, foam rolling is like flossing. Even though you know that you should do it regularly, you are probably not doing it – or doing it only when you notice an issue such as muscle soreness.

However, before you beat yourself up for this, you should know that using recovery tools like the foam roller helps you clean out some of the lactic acid that is building up in your muscles during exercise. This, according to many experts, is what helps your muscles and your entire body to get away from the tension and prevent injuries from coming.

On top of this, foam rolling is great because it can improve your hamstring flexibility and balance. It can also decrease the exercise fatigue and help you get away from the muscle soreness in the first place.

So, while reaching for your foam roller is something you should definitely do – making this a habit before and after your exercise is even better. A regular foam rolling practice can also help you lengthen your muscles and turn off the overworked ones – tuning your body in a perfect balance and amazing obliques.

Why Use A Foam Roller Before Exercise?

We already mentioned that foam rolling is great for both before and after exercise. However, if we have to pick (for the sake of time), we would advise you to get your foam roller ready before exercise.

The truth is, foam rolling prior a workout can help you decrease the tension and density in your muscle. This will result in a better warmup, and you will also be able to help your muscles recover from the exercise you did the day before.

The right amount of time for you and your foam roller is 5 to 10 minutes, during which you will properly hydrate the tissue before the exercise – resulting in a greater range of motion and giving you a more supple preparation for your exercise.

And the best part?

Foam rolling doesn’t require much. All you need is that compact foam roller and no other fancy recovery tools to reap all of the benefits.

3 Quick Foam Rolling Exercises (Before You Go)

Now, the most interesting part. Below, you can find the three perfect foam rolling exercises ideal for any pre-workout scenario.

1. Kneel and roll – Position your roller parallel to your shoulders and put it below your knees while sitting on them. Make sure that your shoulders, elbows and wrists are aligned and carefully roll back and forth to massage your shins.

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2. Crossed calf – Start by sitting on your back with your hands pressing the floor firmly. With your legs outstretched, your foam roller should be below them while you are pushing your backside up and off the mat (without sinking into your shoulders).

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3. Chest opener – Ideal for chest workouts, this warm-up exercise with a foam roller is all about keeping the roller vertical and making sure that your head and tailbone are fully supported.

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A Final Word

At the end of the day, foam rolling is one of the simplest – yet most effective ways to help reduce the tight and sore muscle feeling more quickly than anything other.

So, we believe now is the right time to get your foam roller ready and start rolling!

What Are Carbohydrates & The Benefits Of Consuming Them

Probably the best way to understand what carbohydrates are is to see them as sugars, starches and fibers that are found in fruits, grains, vegetables and milk products.

Even though they are often maligned in the popular diets, carbohydrates (also known as carbs) are important for a healthy organism.

In a nutshell, carbohydrates are macronutrients which means that they are one of the three main ways through which our body obtains energy or calories. Carbohydrates are also the body’s main source of energy – and they contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen – hence the name.

Now, the classification of carbs includes many types and many groups. To better illustrate this, there are:

  • Simple and complex carbs (based on their molecule structure)
  • Monosaccharides, disaccharides and polysaccharides (based on their molecule structure and source)
  • Good and bad carbs (where good are the carbs coming from natural sources such as fruit, opposed to the bad carbs being found in processed products)

The function of carbohydrates is related to providing energy for the central nervous system and every working muscle. Below, we are listing their benefits.

The Benefits Of Eating Carbohydrates Before And After A Workout

As mentioned above, carbohydrates provide fuel for our central nervous system as well as energy for our working muscles. They also prevent the protein from being used as an energy source and enable fat metabolism. They are also important for proper brain function and are found to positively influence the mood, memory and other functions.

When it comes to the consumption of carbs before and after a workout, most of the experts would agree that it is before to consume carbohydrates before a workout as the main source of energy – and balance with proteins after the workout.

Still, carbohydrates can be a great source of glycogen after a workout (especially because your glycogen levels are low at that time).

So, if you want to have maximum energy while training, you can consume carbohydrates before your training. If, on the other hand, the purpose of your training is to bulk up (add muscle) rather than shred your body, carbing up before throwing on your kit is necessary.

The best-case scenario is to consume most of the slow-digesting carbohydrates before a workout – and leave the fast-digesting carbohydrates for after the exercise.

Examples Of Foods That Are Categorized As Carbohydrates

There are many different groups of foods that contain carbohydrates. Obviously, each food contains them in a different and relative amount. So, the best way to understand which food contains carbohydrates is through the following examples listed below:

  • Dairy products – milk, yogurt, ice cream
  • Fruit – whole fruit and fruit juice
  • Grains – bread, rice, crackers and cereal
  • Legumes – beans and other plant-based products
  • Starchy vegetables – potatoes and corn
  • Sugary sweets (processed carbs) – soda, candy, cookies and other desserts

What’s important to mention at this point is the fact that carbohydrates are not inherently bad. In fact, our bodies need the glucose sourced in them for fuel. However, it is always important to pick nutrient-rich food sources and pay attention to the size of your portions (if they include carbohydrates).

A Final Word

In the end, carbohydrates are best consumed in their healthy and unprocessed form – and at the right time. Usually, nutritionists advise to consume them in the morning or at least for lunch and leave the other nutrients for your snack and dinner choices.

Moreover, you should try to focus on the ‘good carbs’ which are essentially carbohydrates that are low or moderate in calories, high in nutrients, devoid of refined sugars/grains, high in natural fiber, low in sodium and saturated fat as well as low in (or devoid of) any cholesterol and trans fats.