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In today’s world, the idea of “go, go, go” fuels many people’s lives. Many individuals are running on full-steam ahead at all times, which leaves little opportunity to slow down and get a good night’s sleep each evening. With technology, responsibilities, work and families, sleep can fall rather low on the priority list, but without sufficient slumber, everything else may suffer as a result. It can be easy to fall into a pattern of catching up on your favorite TV shows or work well into the late night hours, but then you must wake up early the next morning. You might also feel particularly stressed about something in your professional and personal life, which leaves you tossing and turning instead of slumbering peacefully for the recommended seven to eight hours at night. No matter what the cause, getting a full night’s sleep is important for your overall health, especially if you are an athlete or take part in fitness routine. This is a necessary time for your sore muscles to heal themselves and provide you with athletic recovery. If you do feel stiff, giving yourself a relaxing massage before bed can help you drift off more easily.
Improved weight management: If your fitness goal is to lose or maintain weight, it’s imperative to slumber soundly. Lack of sleep has been linked to weight gain. According to Harvard Health, this is because it affects how the body processes and stores carbs, and it changes the level of hormones that are associated with appetite. This is particularly true of the hormone leptin, which plays a part in helping people feel full. Not enough sleep leaves people feeling hungrier, and they will often turn to less healthy options like junk food and sweets instead of lean meats, fruits and vegetables. Additionally, if you’re feeling fatigued throughout day, you’ll be much less likely to cook a healthy meal when you get home from work.
Stronger immune system: A good night’s sleep is important for overall health and function, but it also keeps your immune system running properly. If you find yourself feeling rundown and more susceptible to sickness, it may be because you’re not getting enough zzz’s. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine noted that in a scientific study, 150 participant’s sleep habits were monitored for two weeks, and those who got seven hours a night or less were three times more likely to get sick.
Less pain: Aches and pains can create a vicious cycle. Pain can keep you from getting a good night’s sleep, and a lack of sleep exacerbates pain. This is especially troubling for people who suffer from chronic pain, which may cause people to toss and turn all night or have issues falling asleep. Luckily, a portable massager can provide you with neck and back pain relief, allowing you to slumber more soundly.
Safety: A concern for your safety may not come to mind when you think of why you need more sleep, but fatigue and exhaustion during the day can lead to a greater risk of injuries and accidents. Sleep deprivation affects your ability to concentrate and function at full capacity, which could lead to to you crashing your car, taking too much of a medication or forgetting to take a prescription. “When you’re overtired, you’re more likely to trip, or fall off a ladder, or cut yourself while chopping vegetables,” Dr. Jodi Mindell, professor of psychology at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and author of “Sleep Deprived No More” told R. Morgan Griffin for a WebMD Feature. “Household accidents like that can have serious consequences.”
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Endurance athletes who take part in marathons, triathlons or century bike rides typically have fitness goals of strength and stamina. Your body needs to be strong enough to carry you long distances, and it needs to have the proper training in order to function for extended periods of time.
Before a race it’s crucial to plan a training program to prepare, and most of this will include running or cycling through intervals of faster and slower speeds, up and down hills and longer and shorter distances. It should also include cross training with strength exercises and core workouts such as Pilates for total body training.
Another factor that should be included in a pre-race program is athletic recovery and stretching. Whether you’re a new or seasoned endurance athlete, you’ll be putting your body through more intense challenges, which is sure to leave you with sore muscles from time to time, but it can also increase your risk of injury. To prevent getting hurt and having a setback, you need to take the proper precautions, which include stretching and massage.
A century bike ride will take you 100 miles, and it will certainly test your mental and physical prowess. This may seem like a lofty goal, but it’s certainly an achievable one that many endurance cyclists aspire to complete.
Being able to bike 100 miles requires serious commitment, dedication, planning and training. Once you decide to take part in a century ride, you need to starting working at least eight weeks beforehand to prepare your mind and body for the challenge ahead. Your training program should consist of long and short rides as well as intervals of different speeds, resistance levels, terrain and hills. It’s also a good idea to cross training with weight lifting to strengthen your muscles and exercises such as Pilates that provide stretching and improve posture.
Another key component is nutrition. Your body won’t be able to last long if it is not being fueled properly. Even slight dehydration can completely zap your energy levels and cause sore musclesand cramps. If this does happen, giving your muscles a massage can help. Additionally, eating the right amount of carbohydrates and fats is needed to fuel your muscles and provide you with the nutrients to keep you going mile after mile. You’ll certainly want to pack snacks to stop and eat during your ride to replenish fuel sources, curb hunger pangs and boost energy. Remember not to pack any foods that are too heavy or hard to transport. A muffin may sound delicious, but it can be messy to eat. Also, be sure not to try any new foods in case it affects your stomach negatively and you have to stop mid-race.
Here are some tasty, helpful snack options to pack for your century ride:
Whether you’re preparing for a cycling race, training for a triathlon or simply appreciate the exhilarating cardio workout you get from riding, your body (the lower half in particular) is certainly being challenged.
Most of your focus will be on the meat of your training – developing programs for each ride to incorporate different terrain, speeds, hills and other aspects of riding itself. But it’s also important to remember that your training doesn’t stop once your session ends. In fact, time spent after you hop off your bike is just as important as time spent on the saddle. Cooling down and taking part in athletic recovery reduces your risk of sore muscles and injuries, which can sideline you and set you back in your schedule. This is especially problematic if you are on a deadline for a race.
After each bike ride you should be taking the time to stretch out your muscles and allow your mind and body to return to their resting states. It’s also useful to incorporate self massage into your routine each week, especially after an intense ride. Massage will help loosen up muscles even further, which is important so you don’t create any imbalances.
There are several key muscles you should focus your massager on after a bike ride: