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Part of living a healthy, well-balanced life is making sure that you get enough sleep each night. While it sounds simple enough in theory, achieving those refreshing seven to eight hours of slumber may be easier said than done.
In today’s hectic world, work and personal stress, obligations, family and friends take up a lot of the day, and sleep drops lower on the priority list. Additionally, many people suffer from insomnia or struggle to get a good night’s sleep – instead, they toss and turn, waking up feeling groggy and unsatisfied.
The problem can become a vicious cycle over time: Not getting a good night’s sleep can affect how well you function throughout the day, and having issues during the day may keep you from a decent slumber at night. Not getting enough sleep can affect concentration, mood and appetite, and it can weaken the immune system, leaving your more susceptible to getting sick.
Luckily, there are some simple solutions that can help you drift off to sleep more peacefully and wake feeling refreshed:
Get a massage: Pain makes it much more challenging to fall and stay asleep. Sore muscles can distract you and make it hard to stay in one position for too long, causing you to wake throughout the night. A portable massager allows you to work out knots and kinks to provide relief to your back, neck, legs and/or arms.
Create a nighttime routine: About an hour or so before bed, develop a routine to signal to your body that it’s time to relax. Taking a bath, sipping decaffeinated tea, reading or meditating can soothe your mind and body, so falling into a deep sleep is easier. Having a routine that you do every night also helps program your body to know when it’s time to start to shut down, and it can help balance your circadian rhythm. It’s also useful to set a bedtime and stick to it – even on weekends.
Skip the before-bed munchies: It’s a good idea to close the kitchen and avoid late-night snacking. Digestion prevents your body from fully relaxing, which could keep you from a really good night’s sleep. You might want to skip drinking anything before bed as well, as waking up to use the bathroom might prohibit you from falling back asleep.
Create a sleep-only space: With so much technology around us these days, bedrooms become like a second office with a phone, computer and television all in the room. However, these devices can be distracting and keep you from the slumber you need. Your bedroom should be solely devoted to your rest, so create a cool, dark, quiet space where you can relax and ignore outside distractions.
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Is your daily routine negatively impacted by that relentless ache in your lower back? Can you feel it throbbing for attention as you read this? You’re not alone. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, around 80% of adults suffer from lower back pain at some point in their life.
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: