essential to helping the body to recover from the stresses of the day
and to prepare you for the rigors of tomorrow.
If you engage in regular
strenuous exercise, this sleep time is even more important, both to help
your body recover and to help you perform at optimal levels during the
The physical stresses experienced during exercise
deplete the body of protein, water and other essential nutrients. These
can be recovered somewhat by consuming protein and ensuring proper
hydration after each exercise routine. Exercise stress and emotional
stress also increase the demand for certain hormones in the body. Chief
among these is cortisol, which is released by the adrenal glands in
response to stress.
Elevated cortisol levels are needed for
immediate ‘flight-or-fight’ situations that can be resolved quickly,
thereby allowing the body to relax and return to normal. Regular
strenuous exercise, combined with modern stressful lifestyles, can keep
cortisol levels raised far beyond what is required for an immediate
Cortisol pumps glucose into the body to help prepare the muscles
to respond to stress situations. A consistently elevated level of
cortisol raises blood sugar levels and can interfere with the immune
Managing and reducing stress is important to repairing the
damage and resetting the balance of hormones in the body.
relaxing sleep helps the body to restore its hormonal balance, which
allows the process of recovery to occur. In fact, the building of
muscle, tissue and stamina that you hope to gain from exercise all takes
place while you are asleep. The exercise depletes resources and the
body restores them when we are at rest.
Depriving yourself of
sleep also deprives your body of the vital time to repair and rebuild.
The result can be lower performance. Repeated stressful exercise without
recovery weakens the body over time. Studies show that sleep-deprived
athletes have measurably lower muscle power.
This effect is apparently
increased for individuals who rose early, compared to those who went to
bed late. Getting up at 4:30 AM might seem a fine time for training, but
it may come at the expense of your performance and development.
course, good nutrition is also essential to good physical performance.
Choose foods high in nutrient value and proteins that will supply the
essential elements the body needs to repair and rebuild muscle and
tissue. Good nutrition also helps to rebalance cortisol and other
hormones. The combination of good nutrition and good sleep is the key to
optimal performance, in exercise and in daily life.
drink plenty of water. If you exercise regularly, you need to stay
hydrated and not only when you exercise. Caffeine is a natural diuretic,
so drinking two large mugs of Seattle’s finest in the morning will set
you up for dehydration at the time you need to exercise.
then won’t help to replenish the water you have already lost. The
specific amount of water you need to drink each day depends on many
variables, including your size and activity levels. Not drinking water
regularly will increase the stress on your body.
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Rest and Nutrition Help Fight Stress