Proper Sleep, Health, and Nutrition for Athletes
The Science of Exercise
Physicians recommend regular exercise for everyone from kids to the elderly. A correlation exists between good health and exercise, and people who exercise strenuously and regularly usually derive a number of important health benefits. With exercise, the heart and circulatory system become stronger, and risk of heart disease goes down.
Exercise helps lower bad cholesterol levels and raises good cholesterol levels. Some cancers such as colon and breast cancer are less prevalent for people who exercise regularly. With frequent exercise, people can maintain a healthier weight, and they often have stronger bones.
- The Science of Exercise Shows Benefits Beyond Weight Loss
- Benefits of Exercise
- Reasons to Exercise
- 7 Benefits of Regular Physical Activity
- American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults
- 5 Mental Benefits of Exercise
- 5 Reasons College Students Should Make Time for Exercise
- Exercising and Socializing Can Lead to Better Mental Health
Proper Nutrition When Exercising
Eating properly is important for people who want to exercise effectively. The foods eaten will provide energy during physical activity, and they will also help the body recover from strenuous activity. The common protocol involves consuming a healthy meal about two hours prior to a workout and within two hours after a workout.
Eating protein before exercise helps improve performance and prevent muscle damage. Eating carbohydrates before exercise provides the body with the energy needed for the physical activity. During typical exertion, the main nutritional need will be to stay hydrated with water or an electrolyte beverage. After exercise, it’s important to eat protein to maintain or increase muscle tissue. Eating carbohydrates after exercise will restore glycogen levels, which can help with exercise performance the next day.
- Nutrition and Exercise
- Exercise and Good Nutrition (PDF)
- Living a Healthy Lifestyle
- Healthy Eating for a Healthy Weight
- Eating Before Competition
- Nutrition for the Athlete
- Importance of Good Nutrition
- Nutrition and Athletic Performance
- Physical Activity Facts and Statistics
Sleep and Rest when Exercising
Exercise and sleep are closely related. People often experience more restorative sleep and fall asleep faster when they work out regularly. Because exercise reduces stress and creates physical fatigue, this exertion often helps regulate and maintain a healthy sleep and wake cycle. After a strenuous workout, an athlete will actually need more sleep to rejuvenate physically.
Physical activity causes the body to generate a chemical called adenosine, which enhances the desire to sleep. When a proper sleep amount is achieved, adenosine clears from the system. If insufficient sleep occurs, a person will still have adenosine in the body, which creates fatigue and grogginess. Athletes often find that they perform better when they get more sleep at night.
An athlete may have to experiment with varying amounts of sleep to find the right number of hours that results in feeling refreshed and not groggy in the morning. Reading mattress reviews may also be helpful for choosing a comfortable mattress that provides the desired support.
- Relaxation, Stress, and Sleep
- The Importance of Rest and Recovery for Athletes
- Recovery in Training: The Essential Ingredient
- Overtraining Syndrome
- Functions of Sleep (PDF)
- Sleep and Biological Rhythms
- Is it Better to Sleep In or Work Out?
- How Exercise Affects Sleep
Preventing Sports Injuries
Preventing sports injuries is an important consideration for anyone participating in an organized sport or any type of physical activity. An injury can result in significant pain, reduced mobility, and a host of other related issues. Warming up before exercise and cooling down after activity are important for preparing muscles and keeping them strong. Wearing protective gear such as helmets and pads is also an important component of exercise.
Some physicians have noted a correlation between athletes getting enough sleep and performing at optimal levels. Tired or sleepy athletes may be more likely to experience an injury. Thus, part of injury prevention involves resting and assessing physical condition to ensure that performance will not be hindered.
- Preventing Sports Injuries
- Top Tips for Avoiding Sports Injuries
- Preventing Sports Injuries In Kids And Teens (PDF)
- Common Sports Injuries and Sports Injury Prevention Tips
- A Guide to Preventing Common Sports Injuries
- Injury Prevention and Self Care (PDF)
- Don’t Fall for the Season’s Sports Injuries
- Sleep Deprivation in Adolescents and Young Adults (PDF)
Fitness calculators are a helpful tool for anyone engaging in exercise or sports play. Calculators can help you determine your maximum heart rate and training heart rate so you can work out at an effective level for your gender and age. You can also use specialized calculators to help you improve your running performance, measuring your pace, time, and distance.
Calculator tools assist with estimating caloric needs and estimating the number of calories burned during specific physical activities.
Dan Scalco is the Chief Editor of Sleepopolis. He is dedicated to bringing you the most comprehensive sleep-industry information on the web. He coverrs everything from mattress reviews to sleep tips. Dan wants to help you get the best night's sleep ever!