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Health and Wellbeing - April 2019

03 Apr 2019

The importance of sleep

Recent statistics show that more than 35 per cent of adults are sleep deprived.

Achieving your health and fitness goals will be near impossible unless you address your sleep deficit if you indeed have one. Unfortunately, the more active you are the more important and critical sleep becomes for both weight loss and muscle gain.

A trainer can help coach you with your exercise routines, a nutritionist or dietician can help you with meal plans and nutritional advice. Sleep however is really up to you.

A lack of quality sleep will slow down your metabolism which is a key factor in weight loss. Additionally, sleep deprivation impacts hormone levels and balance and regulation of blood glucose levels, all which can all lead to unwanted energy conservation.

For those trying to build and retain muscle mass, it’s important to know that muscles are not built in the gym. Muscle fibres are torn in the gym. They then repair, recover and grow while you rest and sleep.

Here are some tips to improve your sleep quality and help you achieve your health and fitness goals:

  • No caffeine or stimulants after 5pm;
  • Have smaller evening meals. Try not to eat two hours before you sleep;
  • Place electronic devices in another room overnight – buy an old-school alarm clock!
  • Black out your sleeping area; and
  • Consider using “sleeping” music and meditation practices to help calm your mind leading up to bed time

Good luck!

Make time to practice yoga

Here are eight great benefits associated with regular yoga practice that might help convince you to make yoga part of your weekly routine:

  • Improved flexibility – It won’t take long, but with regular practice you will notice your muscles become more supple, flexible and lengthen with every class.
  • Strength – Your muscles will not only start to look better, they will start to do their job helping you move, balance and protect your bones and joints from impact, injury or fall.
  • Healthy joints – Moving your joints through their full range of motion will help increase their strength and reduce the onset of arthritis and degenerative diseases.
  • Healthy bones – The weight-bearing exercises and postures in yoga will help retain bone density and avoid osteoporosis.
  • Weight loss – Losing weight is often the result of moving more and eating less. You can take a yoga class at your own pace, but it can also be a very vigorous way to exercise where you can expend a lot of energy.
  • Stress less – Scientific tests show that yoga helps reduce stress levels, lowers blood pressure and helps reduce the production of the stress hormone cortisol, which has detrimental health impacts when levels are high for long periods of time.
  • Improved circulation – Yoga will get your heart working more efficiently and ensure blood and oxygen flow to all the cells, tissues and organs within your body, especially to the extremities.
  • Improved mental health – Regular yoga practice helps reduce depression and increase the production of serotonin, the happy hormone. Meditation is also highly recommended for addressing mental health conditions and improving general health and wellbeing.

Rowing for all-around excellent health

Rowing is one of a few excellent low impact (almost no impact) activities you will find in a gym today. Taken as a warm up, short cardio blast or a longer endurance activity, rowing has many great benefits for the participant.

Commercial-grade indoor rowers come in two distinct variations in the modern fitness facility – a fan based rower that uses air as the resistance (e.g. the Concept C2) or a water rower that has a turbine that uses water as the resistance. Both are excellent machines selection purely comes down to personal preference.

Here are some great benefits of rowing for your fitness knowledge bank:

  • Rowing is a very low impact exercise that creates minimal stresses to the joints and spine;
  • Rowing helps promote weight loss. You can burn 300-400 calories in a 30 minute session;
  • Rowing improves cardio vascular fitness;
  • Like other forms of exercise, rowing helps reduce stress with the release of endorphins;
  • Rowing helps Improve strength and muscle tone – a full body activity with variable resistance that involves the legs, core and upper body.
  • Proper rowing technique and execution promotes improved posture and spinal condition and function.

Have you ever considered taking up dragon boat racing? It is an excellent team sport for people of all ages and fitness levels.

There are quite a few dragon boating clubs operating and launching boats from Docklands.

If you are interested in more information on the sport and how to get involved, search up the dragon boat association or contact the Yarra River Dragons.

I know this team and its coaches and athletes well, and the culture is excellent.

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