Rest is important for your sport performance

Training is not enough to reach your maximum sports level. Being fundamental to perform a good training, there are also a number of other factors that are basic to increase your performance, and that fall under the term Invisible Training. We talk about aspects such as nutrition, sports supplementation (when necessary), physical care such as massages and, above all, rest.

After intense sports activity the body needs to recover and prepare again for the next effort. It is necessary to recharge the energy deposits and regenerate the muscles and tissues that may have been damaged during training. In fact, the improvement in our physical form does not come at the time of training, but with the overcompensation that occurs in the body when we rest behind it. It is the sequence “stimulus-fatigue-rest and overcompensation” that improves our fitness… as long as we rest properly. If you crush yourself to train and not rest well, not only will you not progress, as you feel fatigued, but you can compromise your health. Therefore, if a good night’s sleep is important for anyone, for sportsmen and sportswomen who demand more from their bodies, it is even more important.

Sleep well, run faster

“Deep sleep nourishes life.” With this motto, the Spanish Sleep Society (SES) celebrated in March the World Sleep Day, an ephemeris that served to remember that deep sleep is one of the three pillars of good health, along with regular physical exercise and a balanced diet. However, SES estimates that 30% of Spaniards have a chronic sleep deficit.

Good rest habits help us to recover muscles and tissues after exertion – which increases our sports performance and avoids injuries – strengthens the immune system, stabilises our biological clock and gives us energy for the next day. On the other hand, lack of sleep is associated with a decline in cognitive performance, which worsens your attention and memory, and is a risk factor associated with diseases such as diabetes, depression, obesity, hypertension or heart problems.

How to live a healthy life

1. Although regular physical exercise helps us to fall asleep, it can be counterproductive if you practice it intensively just before going to bed, since initially there is an increase in sympathetic nerve activity and with it of wakefulness (just a few hours later the body temperature decreases, which increases drowsiness). Therefore, it is recommended not to practice intense exercise the 2-3 hours before bedtime.

2. It is convenient to have a habit of rest, i. e., to accustom the body to always take place at the same time of day, with a regular schedule of lying down and getting up. The human body has biorhythms adapted to each person that work better or worse depending on this discipline.

3. Experts recommend sleeping between 7 and 9 hours a day in adulthood, although in the case of those who do physical effort training, the ideal would be to sleep a minimum of eight hours.

4. In addition, for sportsmen and women, a short nap (between 20 and 30 minutes), in which the body and mind rest, is a good complement to nighttime sleep. Its main benefits: it fights stress, reduces physical and mental fatigue and increases performance.

5. Avoid caffeine (coffee, tea and cola) six hours before bedtime.

6. Avoid spicy, heavy or high-sugar foods (such as instant cocoa) the 4 hours before bedtime.

7. When you go to bed, keep the room at a suitable temperature (between 18 and 22 ÂșC) and well ventilated.

8. Sleep in a comfortable bed, with a good mattress.

9. Eliminate noise and light in the room as much as possible. Experts warn of a pernicious custom that is becoming more and more frequent, associated with new technologies: going to bed with a mobile phone, tablet or laptop. The light emitted by these electronic devices greatly stimulates vigil.

10. Reserve the bedroom for sleep and sex only. Do not use it as a workspace or playroom.