Many of us focus on the activity we are training for, because it is the most important part of improving your performance, but there are many other things that if done correctly will help to improve your performance.
A general rule is that the newer you are to physical activity the more rest you will need between training sessions. This will allow your body to recover and reduce the chance of injury. Listen to your body and be patient. The fitter you get the quicker your body will recover and therefore less time you will need to recover between sessions. Going too hard to early can result in injury.
Add variety into your training so that you don’t constantly work the same muscles group. If the legs are sore from a big session or run yesterday, hit the upper body today and just do something light on the legs along with a good stretch.
So important because when you are sleeping your body uses this time to recover and repair your body. Ideally 8 hours per night is the ultimate amount of sleep we need and research shows that getting more than 7 hours sleep has a significant positive impact on the amount of repair your body can undertake.
Stretching after a session and in between sessions is important to elongate muscles, keep them supple and to relieve any soreness you may be feeling. If you are tight in a particular area, try stretching it every day or even twice a day for a week and see how it can improve. Undertake some Yoga or Pilates to keep your stretching a little more interesting. Try not to stretch cold, go for a walk or simply move your body for a couple of minutes to help get your blood flowing to get it ready for stretching.
Our bodies are made up of 70% water so we need to rehydrate to help replenish water lost during sweating. 8 glasses of water a day is an acceptable amount but if it’s hot or you have exercised you should drink more on those days. Caffeine free teas can be substituted for plain water or squeeze a lemon into your water to add some flavour. I also like to substitute plain water with Soda water, fresh lemon or lime juice, and I even drop in some fresh mint from my garden.
This goes without saying but we need to replenish our bodies with good quality food. Our body is a highly complex organism and with all the chemical reactions and regeneration that our bodies go through each and every day it is vitally important that we give our bodies a chance to replenish. Try not to be too clever with your nutrition, just eat good quality basic