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fitness first

Improve Your Performance By Meghan Kennihan Photo courtesy of the Wheaton Park District

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f you could do just one thing to increase your mental power, performance, build muscle, and lose fat – would you do it? Yes? All you have to do is SLEEP.

Runners are always looking for the next best shoe, apparel, supplement, training plan to improve their performance. We spend millions of dollars trying techniques or products that will keep us injury free and achieving that elu-

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sive PR. I have found the “magic” pill, it will not cost you a thing! SLEEP. Sleep is one of the most overlooked aspects of training by runners, even though it is the most important aspect in preventing injury, enhancing your recovery, building strength, and improving speed. There are many other benefits to sleep besides repairing your damaged muscles. You cannot be healthy without adequate sleep. End of story. Among other things, a full night’s sleep: • enhances memory and mental clarity • improves athletic performance • boosts mood and overall energy • improves immune function • increases stress tolerance You may think that you can ‘burn the candle at both ends’ but unfortunately the body doesn’t forget the importance of sleep. It’s absolutely essential for basic maintenance and repair of the neurological, endocrine, immune, musculoskeletal and digestive systems. There is no muscle growth, tissue repair, or speed development during training workouts. After a hard run or speed session muscles contain micro tears and break down. These tears can be repaired making you stronger suburban family | subfam.com

but this repair occurs predominantly during sleep. Research at Stanford University shows that athletes who get sleep have improved ability at sprinting, faster reaction times, and improved moods. When runners deprive themselves of sleep, getting 6 hours or less, the negative consequences come fast and furious. • Weakens your immune system {2}: getting sick = less training, poor training • Leads to Obesity{3}: Recent studies have shown that even one night of poor sleep can result in changes in appetite and food intake. Sleep deprivation also impairs carbohydrate tolerance, insulin sensitivity, and glucose uptake. When glucose uptake is inhibited, you aren’t able to refuel before, during, and after your workouts. • Intellectual Decline {4}: sleep deprivation negatively impacts short-term and working memory, long-term memory and the generation of nerve cells - all of which affects our ability to think clearly and function well. • Inflammation{5}: Sleep deprivation causes chronic, low-grade inflammation. Inflammation is the root of all modern disease and severely inhibits the bodies’ ability to repair muscles, tissue, and tendon damage. • Injury: When you don’t get enough sleep March/April 2015

Profile for Suburban Family Magazine

Suburban Family ~ March + April 2015  

2015 Annual Race Guide, Summer Camps, Springtime Fun, Chicago Events, Dining Guide

Suburban Family ~ March + April 2015  

2015 Annual Race Guide, Summer Camps, Springtime Fun, Chicago Events, Dining Guide