In my last blog, I talked about the importance of cross training to prevent injury. Now I would like to talk about two additional factors for improving exercise performance and preventing injury: sleep and hydration.
“Get 8 hours of sleep a night!” and “Make sure you are drinking enough water!” are phrases we probably hear more often than we can count. Yes, these are important habits to build and maintain for our overall health, but let’s talk about WHY they are so important.
Sleep is essential for proper recovery. While we sleep, our bodies relax and repair. Sleep gives our cells time to recover from whatever stress they underwent during a workout. If you don’t get enough sleep, your muscles and nerves might not fully recover. This can lead to injury due to extreme muscle fatigue. Additionally, when you have a "tired" neuromuscular system, you run the risk of sloppy performance during your workouts, which (you guessed it) can lead to poor performance and/or injury. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 7+ hours of sleep a night for adults. They also suggest waiting 48 hours between high intensity workouts of the same muscle groups.
Drinking enough water is important for many reasons. Water helps our bodies stay properly regulated. When we get dehydrated, our brain and muscles tend to function poorly. We lose blood volume which can decrease circulation to our tissues and organs. This can lead to muscle cramping, fatigue, and more serious system malfunctions.
Staying hydrated during exercise is particularly crucial, because we lose water through sweat when we exercise. If you aren’t continuously replenishing that lost water, you could easily get dehydrated which can result in impaired performance and increased risk of injury. Maintaining proper hydration levels during your workout will allow you to continue to improve your performance.
The American College of Sport Medicine recommends drinking 2 to 4 milliliters of water per pound of body weight prior to exercise. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should be drinking 300 to 600 ml (approx 10 to 20 ounces) of water prior to exercise. A medium sized Hydro Flask bottle is 18 to 21 ounces. They also recommend drinking 300 to 2400 ml (approx 10 to 80 ounces) of water during exercise, depending on the intensity of your workout.
So, as you can see, there are many lifestyle factors that should be considered when improving athletic performance and preventing injury. Here at Activcore, we treat the whole person by focusing on all aspects of health and wellness. We have physical therapists and performance specialists who work together as a team to help you achieve the best version of yourself in sport and life.
To learn more, feel free to contact us at Activcore Druid Hills.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are based on the opinion of the author, unless otherwise noted, and should not be taken as personal medical advice. The information provided is intended to help readers make their own informed health and wellness decisions.