Just as it is important to eat healthy and exercise to prepare ourselves and improve our lives, it is also important to rest properly. There are many benefits associated with getting the proper amount of sleep, among those including improved memory, longer lifespan, spur creativity, and improve athletic performance.
Rest and sleep is critical to athletic performance and avoiding plateaus. According to a study conducted at Stanford University, men's basketball athletes were asked to maintain their sleep patterns for two weeks. After the two week period, the same athletes were asked to extend their sleep patterns and obtain as much sleep as possible. The study showed significant improvements in athletic performance, including faster sprint times, increased energy, improved mood, and decreased levels of fatigue.
A second study was conducted at the University of Chicago Medical School that studied the effects of three different durations of sleep in eleven men that ranged in ages from 18 to 27. The participants slept for three nights for eight hours, followed by six nights of four hours of sleep per night, and ended the last seven nights with sleeping 12 hours per night. The study showed that when the individuals slept only four hours per night, their glucose levels were no longer normal and showed a deterioration of the body's functions. In fact, their bodies managed glucose levels similar to those found in the elderly. They also found their cortisol levels were higher, which has been previously linked to impaired recovery for athletes.
So what does this mean for you? Make sure to adequately rest between workouts and to vary your workouts to emphasize different muscle groups each time. Amber Robinson, a Strength and Conditioning trainer in Dakota Dunes, SD, who also holds her NETA Certification, says that "Rest days are one of the most critical factors needed in order to see changes of your body." Robinson went on to add "When you are doing any type of exercise, especially weight training, you are ripping apart your muscle fibers. Once they recover, they grow with quality and become stronger." Rest days are critical and physically necessary so that the muscles can repair, rebuild, and strengthen. The rest days vary depending on which muscle groups have been worked. Robinson suggests 24 to 48 hours of rest after working smaller muscle groups (such as biceps, triceps, etc.) and 48 to 72 hours after working bigger muscle groups, such as your back, glutes, and quads for example.
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Tiger-Rock Martial Arts s a National franchising company providing health, skills and fitness training through its franchisees’ Martial Arts programs for members of all ages. Our programs enrich their personal and professional lives in many ways. Tiger-Rock programs are a blend of modern sport science, the latest research, and hundreds of years of martial arts tradition to provide you with the most effective experience available.