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How sleep affects athletic performance

importance of sleep

Sleep will always be an important factor in your everyday routine, especially if you’re someone that has high levels of activity during the day. Strenuous activity puts added stress to the body which then repairs itself during sleep. This is where the importance of getting enough sleep comes into play.

How much sleep you need depends on your genetics and the type of activity you participate in but a minimum of 8 to 10 hours is recommended for optimal recovery of the muscles and the nervous system.

Consequences of sleep deprivation

During the REM phase, processes important to muscle recovery and performance begin to happen. This is the time when energy and memory are being restored and repaired. If this phase is interrupted or cut short the brain doesn’t have enough time to finish this process and in turn sacrifices athletic performance.

Sleep deprivation will result in decreased accuracy, poor form, declined results in performance and bad mood. It also increases the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, and slows down recovery right after physical activity.

Getting enough sleep benefits athletes in several ways:

  • Increased speedathletes that get an extra 2 hours of sleep at night have an increase in speed and accuracy of 9%. Sufficient amount of sleep increases reaction time and reflexes making you quicker, precise and more alert. A single night of no sleep is enough to reduce athletic performance by 300% and recovery will take up to several days. Surprisingly low levels of fatigue can impair reaction time as much as being drunk would.
  • Increased intensity – Getting at least 9 hours of sleep at night increases performance results in high intensity workouts like weight lifting, high intensity interval training, cycling and running.
  • Mental strength – Getting enough sleep gives the mind a break after it has finished repairing the body. This results in higher alertness and quicker reflexes
  • Coordination – As mentioned before REM state is the most important part of sleep, it’s the point where memories are being restored and the nervous system repaired. During this time the brain is memorizing new skills and consolidating memories connected to motor skills. This means that getting enough sleep will enable you to repeat the same actions, learn them better and achieve better results
  • Reduced injury rates – Sleeping less than 6 hours will greatly increase the risks of serious athletic injury. This is because fatigue severely affects reaction time and a tired athlete is slower to react to an obstacles or a potential hit on the court. By getting enough sleep you’re avoiding risk of any future injury caused by poor cognitive performance.
  • General health – Fatigue makes you more susceptible to illness by lowering the immune system and this is because shorter periods of rest don’t provide the body with enough time to repair and regenerate cells from the effects of daily activities and sport. Getting up to 10 hours of sleep results in greater health overall which means you will rarely have periods of down time brought on by sickness.

sleep deprivation

A factor we rarely think about – the quality of your bed

It is impossible to expect a good night’s rest when the bed that you’re sleeping on is giving you more grief than comfort. A good mattress is just as important as the amount of sleep you’re getting and depending on your preference there a several types of mattresses that you can choose from.

  • Innerspring mattresses are the most commonly used. Made with several layers of metal coils which provide bounce and even pressure point relief. A good mattress will have a higher metal coil count for better support. It’s a reliable go to as it fit’s most people’s needs in firmness and comfort.
  • Memory foam mattress offer great support and are usually recommended for people suffering from bad lower back pain. Memory foam is heat sensitive, it will contour and mold to your body relieving pressure points and give your body even support. Since it traps heat it’s a good mattress to go for if you’re an athlete since heat is known to increase blood circulation and promote relaxation and muscle recovery.
  • Latex foam mattresses offer great support and a relaxing, cooling effect.
    They’re almost identical in every aspect to the memory foam mattresses providing the same amount of support and pressure point relief minus the heat.
  • Air mattresses provide just as much support as a traditional innerspring mattress but with added comfort. They vary in quality and size but in general it isn’t hard to find a good quality one for a lower price. The best airbeds are fully adaptable, meaning you can adjust firmness to your liking and readjust it lost air. You can read more on that over at TheSleepStudies.com

To sum it up

Getting enough sleep is the most important factor in maintaining optimal health and the key to success of any athlete.

By getting enough sleep you’re making sure that your body is ready for action and on top of its peak performance.

The Best Rowing Machine

best rowing machine

Rowing machines, also known as rowers, are pieces of gym equipment. It simulates the actual rowing motion when done in the water, like paddling back and forth. This equipment is used to exercise the muscle groups used for rowing. This is very convenient, as rowing machines are small, and take up little space.

What’s the Best Rowing Machine?

Rowing machines are also great because you can do it from your own living room. No need to go out on the water to get in a good workout.

Rowing machines give you the opportunity to get in a full body workout. As it provides you with a low impact exercise that wont damage your joints. It gives you a great cardiovascular workout as well. When using a rower machine, your using your shoulders, your calves, quads, abs, arms, and back. This is fantastic, and as stated earlier, provides you with a great full body workout.

Depending on your budget and the features you are looking for, you will have to decide what the best rowing machine is for you. Generally, the price of a rower machine is lower than, or at least comparable to an elliptical trainer.

There are four types of rowing machines for indoor use, according to their resistance. The four types are piston resistance, air resistance, water resistance, and magnetic resistance. Each type of rower has its own advantages, and disadvantages.

Hydraulic Resistance

The hydraulic resistance rowing machine makes use of shocks similar to shocks used in a car. Uses hydraulic cylinders attached to the handles.

  1. The handles are adjustable.
  2. the handles cannot be altered while rowing.
  3. strokes can be less precise due to the handles.
  4. has a fixed seat.
  5. simple and compact size.

This type of rowing machine requires only a small amount of space. It has adjustable features to comfort fit the physical attributes of different users.

It’s the most inexpensive type among the group of rowers. This machine gives you a good workout, although it’s not the most recommended model. If you want to save money, and space, then this is the model for you.

Air Resistance

The air resistance rowing machine is the second type of rowing machine. It simulates the genuine rowing motion quite nicely. It provides uninterrupted rowing motions, since it needs the initial thrust from you in order to drive the fan. There are much less restrictions in your rowing motion with this equipment.

It uses air fans that are like the ones used in breaking mechanisms. It creates noise while in use. It uses air fins that are fan energy exerted by the user.

 

Water Resistance

Water resistance rowing machines use paddles that pushes through water. it provides the feeling of actually being in the water. It gives the pragmatic action of rowing in the water. The resistance is generated when applying more speed to the flywheel. It’s larger than magnetic or air resistance machines, so it’s quite difficult to store. Since it holds water, it’s heavy to move around but it’s not noisy to operate. If you’re looking for a machine that you want to keep in one place for a longer time and gives you a real feel of rowing on the water, then this is the best rowing machine to choose.

Calculating the performance of each of the machines is reliant on the computation set by the rowing machines manufacturer. As well as the consequences of the resistance applied. If you want to get an accurate computation of the energy applied as well as the calories burned, you may want to purchase this type of equipment that has a monitor that tracks your stats. These kinds of rowing machines can be better than the ones that track fewer stats. Especially for those who are looking to track how many calories they have burned, and in what time frame. If there isn’t a tracking device, it’s harder to tell how many calories you’re burning, and if you’re actually doing enough exercise. If you don’t have a tracking device, it will be harder to get the desired results.

Rowing machines can be found all over the place. It’s growing popularity makes them easy to find on certain websites, and even local sporting goods stores.