For those who take their fitness seriously, there are parts of our daily routine which are prioritised over everything else; these are, of course, exercise and diet.
The two really go hand-in-hand. Exercise helps us lose weight and improves our fitness. Creating the perfect diet both fuels the body to achieve certain exercise goals and also acts as a supplement to improve physical growth and recovery.
The tricky thing is finding a delicate balance between the two, ensuring you get plenty of exercise without neglecting a healthy and balanced diet. Take a look at this informative post from Real Simple which discusses the two in more detail.
Athletes & Diets
However, all bodies are different and some can cope with less healthy diets than others. There are many examples of successful sports stars who regularly eat mounds of junk food between serious competitions and are still able to get into a healthy routine when it comes to the crunch.
There are plenty of great examples of this, one of the most famous being the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt. The record-breaking sprinter admitted to eating 100 McDonald’s chicken nuggets every day during the Beijing Olympics where he won three gold medals. You can read more on his junk food habits in this article from Joe.
While exercise and diet are extremely important to anyone hoping to live a fit and healthy lifestyle, there are other things which are just as important, but a lot less frequently discussed.
One example is sleep. Sleep is massively important in ensuring we are fully rested and energised for the following day. However, by concentrating fully on exercise and diet alone, the amount of sleep we get can often take a back seat.
Athletes & Sleep
The National Sleep Foundation are one of many who suggest that the recommended amount of sleep each adult should have per night is eight hours. Any less and our bodies may not be sufficiently rested and may not function at the peak levels we want every day.
While it’s a lot less reported than fitness routines or diets, many of the top sports stars take their amount of sleep very seriously.
Take a look at this article from the Huffington Post which explains how the likes of Roger Federer, Andy Murray, LeBron James and Michelle Wie have at least nine hours sleep every night, otherwise, they feel they cannot function properly the following day.
One of the most interesting sports star sleep stories involves the most decorated Olympian of all time.
It’s reported that Michael Phelps goes the extra mile at bedtime, sleeping in a chamber which simulates being at an altitude of 8,500 to 9,000 feet. It decreases oxygen, forcing the body to work harder under the circumstances. As a result, blood flow and endurance improve.
Of course, this is a slightly drastic example and something which the average person wouldn’t dream of doing, but it emphasises how important sleep is to the routines of athletes.
10 Sleep Hacks Every Athlete Needs To Know
For the amateur athlete, getting a proper sleep routine is slightly trickier than it is for a pro athlete who doesn’t have any other commitments. Working a 9-5 job, fitting in plenty of exercise and maintaining a healthy diet is tricky enough, before squeezing in eight hours sleep.
Thankfully, SleepyPeople.com has created a really handy infographic which can help anyone who is struggling to balance their healthy lifestyle.
‘10 Sleep Hacks Every Athlete Needs To Know’ offers up some great advice to structuring a healthy routine so that you can fit everyone in, including a great night’s sleep. Take a look below.
Featured photo credit: Sleepy People via sleepypeople.com