When it comes to fitness, rest is just as important as exercise
Many of us start the year with a resolution to up our fitness game. Aiming to be healthier and more active is always a good move, but all too often these goals fall by the wayside within the first few weeks of the year. Budding fitness fanatics push too hard, too fast, and end up burning out.
That’s why rest is so important for long term fitness goals. By prioritising sleep and recovery, you can improve your physical and mental fitness in the long run, helping your body recover from your new and improved exercise regime.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the close relationship between sleep, recovery and fitness.
People who follow an active lifestyle tend to require more rest than non-active individuals. This makes sense – after all, when you use more energy, you have more need to restock your energy supplies at the end of the day.
As such, when you’re well-rested, your gym performance improves. Scheduling in both time to workout and 7-9 hours of sleep gives you the best of both worlds, helping you see better results from your fitness efforts.
Don’t operate under the illusion that you build muscle in the gym; the real results of your workouts can only be seen after you’ve rested up. The purpose of working out is to initiate micro-tears of the muscle fibres. The breaking down of this muscle initiates the body’s response, which is to repair the damage and come back stronger so that it can handle the same load more easily the next day. In order for that regenerative repair work to take place effectively, however, adequate time is needed to enable the recovery process to complete.
Making time to get enough sleep between workouts can help you feel more energised, recover faster, workout harder and build lean muscle quicker than if you were operating on little sleep. When your muscles are given the chance to recover adequately during sleep, you’re more likely to come back stronger than before and push your fitness limits.
Of course, it isn’t just time that’s critical to recovery; getting oxygen and nutrients to fatigued muscles is also critical to the quality of the recovery, which is why Mammoth mattresses are designed to ease pressure and aid circulation. Helping blood to flow freely around the body serves to accelerate and optimise recovery so that you can push your body harder and longer next time you exercise.
Speaking of nutrition, we should also talk about diet. Getting diet right is critical for achieving any fitness goal – whether that’s building muscle, shedding fat or hitting new PBs.
When we don’t get enough sleep, we’re less likely to stick to our guns when it comes to eating healthy, and this can undo all the hard work you’ve been putting in at the gym. Feeling sleep deprived means you’re more likely to rely on snacks and sugar for a quick energy burst, and this makes unhealthy food all the more tempting.
What’s more, sleep is extremely important when it comes to energy metabolism. Research by the University of Chicago Medicine found that when you’re sleep deprived, your fat cells may not operate at their full capacity, leading to excess insulin release and unnecessary fat storage. Over time, this can increase your risk of obesity and type II diabetes.
You need to be just as strict about your sleep patterns as you are about your gym regime. Working out every day but still going to bed at 2am will cause you to fall off the fitness wagon sooner rather than later, as poor sleep habits can negatively affect your motivation levels and self-control. So if you’re struggling to meet your fitness goals this new year, try turning the spotlight on your sleep habits to see whether that’s where the problem lies. Setting yourself a strict wake-rest cycle that you can stick to every day is a great way to support your gym goals in the long run.