How to Sleep like a Baby

By: Megan Lambert

sleep

On average, 1/3 of your life is spent sleeping.

That’s approximately 25 years of your life!

If you wake up in the morning feeling unrested, read the following sleep recommendations for the amount you should be getting, as well as practical habits to include in your nightly routine.

How much sleep do you need each night?

School aged children (6-13) 9-11 hours
Teenagers (14-17) 8-10 hours
Younger adults (18-25) 7-9 hours
Adults (26-64) 7-9 hours
Older adults (65+) 7-8 hours

**According to the National Sleep Foundation recommendations.

Sleep deprivation causes:

  • An increase in stress hormone (cortisol) production
  • An exhausted immune system, which increases the potential for physical illness
  • An increase in fat production instead of lean muscle
  • Brain fog and irritability
  • Increased risk of depression

6 ways to improve your sleep quality:

  1. Sleep in a dark, quiet room.
  2. Use a regular alarm clock instead of your phone.
  3. Keep a notepad by your bed and write down your to-do list and any nagging thoughts before you go to bed.
  4. Keep your phone in another room so you aren’t distracted by late-night text messages and emails.
  5. Read, journal, or listen to music to quiet down before bed.
  6. Ask your doctor about safe and natural sleep-promoting supplements

Think About the Way You Think

thanksgiving

By: Matt Nicholson & Megan Lambert

In the past 24 hours, has your job, the news, family issues, or politics brought any negative emotion or stress into your life?

Although it is easy to be consumed by negative thoughts and emotions in your daily living, research shows that intentional positive thinking is beneficial for your overall health.

Positive thinking improves your mindset.

Dr. Barbara L. Fredrickson, a Kenan Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, conducted a study in 2004 which researched the impact that positive and negative thoughts have on your brain. Fredrickson divided her test group into five different sections. Each of these groups watched movies which instilled either contentment, anger, fear, joy, or neither a positive or negative emotion. They then completed written responses to the images based on the emotions they felt.

Based on their responses, Fredrickson concluded that the subjects who responded to the films instilling positive emotions had much more to write in their responses in contrast with the subjects who watched films that instilled negative emotions.

James Clear, a behavioral psychologist, summarizes this idea by stating,

In other words, when you are experiencing positive emotions like joy, contentment, and love, you will see more possibilities in your life. These findings were among the first that proved that positive emotions broaden your sense of possibility and open your mind up to more options.

Positive thinking impacts your brain.

Additionally, positive thinking trains the brain to open pathways allowing us to be more open-minded and optimistic. As a result, this allows us to live a healthier, more stress-free life. Likewise, positive thinking exudes confidence, success, and improves your relationship with the people around you.

3 ways to practice gratitude and positive thinking in your daily life:

  1. Create a thankfulness journal and write down five positive thoughts every day.
  2. Write a letter of encouragement to someone important to you.
  3. Call someone who has made a positive impact on your life.

 

 

 

 

H2O Analysis: the ins and outs of water consumption

By: Matt Nicholson & Megan Lambert

glass-of-water

Water makes up 45-70% of your body weight, according to Joan’s Salge Blake’s book, “Nutrition and You,” (2nd ed.).

Everyone talks about the importance of hydration, but how do you know if you should be consuming more?

Chris Kresser, a renowned natural health and nutrition professional says in his article entitled, “Hydration 101: How Much Water Do You Really Need,”

“There is no universal requirement for water intake, and your needs will vary widely based on age, gender, body size, health status, and physical activity levels.”

If the requirements vary, then what are his recommendations? He suggests utilizing your body’s thirst mechanism as an indicator for the amount of water to drink, instead of a specific amount.

In addition to the thirst mechanism, it is a good idea to monitor the amount of fluid you drink after exercise. One guideline according to Blake, is to replace each pound (lb) of weight lost during a workout with one pint (0.5L) of water.

Additionally, our Indy Core coaches recommend that you drink 8-10 ounces of water 20-30 minutes prior to an athletic practice, competition, or workout session.

What does drinking enough water do for your body?

  1. Increases energy levels
  2. Reduces fatigue
  3. Improves memory
  4. Enhances cognitive function
  5. Promotes quicker post-exercise recovery
  6. Improves joint lubrication
  7. Supports your body’s immune system
  8. Prevents overeating
  9. Promotes satiety
  10. Improves blood flow

8 Exercises to Add to Your Warm-up

By: Megan Lambert

Before the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians began Game 7 of the World Series last night, each team warmed-up on the baseball diamond, throwing, catching, jogging, stretching, etc.

Just like an MLB player, athletes and weekend gym warriors need to warm-up their muscles before lifting weights, running, or doing cardiovascular exercise. Consequently, check out the following eight movements designed to prepare the ankles, hips, shoulders, and thoracic spine for exercise.

  1. Standing hip circles

For this movement, stand on one foot and bring the other leg up to a 90 degree angle. Take your knee up, out to the side, and back behind your center of mass to make a complete circle. Make 6-10 circles forward and then reverse the motion to make 6-10 backwards circles with the same leg. Repeat with the opposite leg.

  1. Sumo squats

Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, with your toes facing forward. Bend down to touch your toes and then drop your hips as low as you can, keeping your knees pushed out and your chest up. Then, raise your arms above your head and push through your heels to return to a standing position. Repeat for 6-10 reps.

  1. Monster walks

Place a small resistance band two inches above your knee. To begin, stand with your feet shoulder width apart in a ¼ squat position. From here, push off of your left foot while maintaining your squatting position. Then, bring your right foot back underneath your center of mass to return to your original position. Repeat these movements over a 10-15 meter area, and then repeat in the opposition direction.

  1. Band pull-aparts

Hold a resistance band straight out in front of you, with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width. For this exercise, your goal is to try to pull your hands as far apart from each other as you can. This is be accomplished by pinching your shoulder blades together. Repeat for 10 reps.

  1. Open book stretch

Lie on your side with your knees bent to 90 degrees. From this starting position, place your arms out to the side. Keeping your legs on the ground, move your top arm across your body to the ground on the other side of your body. The goal is to open up your chest and to increase mobility in your thoracic spine. Repeat for 6-10 reps each side.

  1. Scorpions

For this movement, lie on your stomach with your arms straight out from your sides. Bend one knee to 90 degrees and lift your hip off the ground by squeezing your glutes and driving your heel in the air. From there, reach your heel across your body toward your opposite hand. You should feel a stretch through your abdomen and hip flexor, as well as in your mid-back.

  1. Walking straight leg deadlifts

To begin, stand on one foot. Reach one foot straight behind the body while keeping your torso in a straight line. It is important to keep your core engaged during this movement so that your spine stays in a neutral position, meaning it doesn’t flex or extend. Another tip for the extended leg is to lead with your hamstrings. This places the tension in your leg, not in your lower back.

  1. Inchworm

Stand with your feet together. Keeping your legs straight, reach down toward your toes. Once in this position, walk your hands out in front of you until you are in a push-up position. From here, walk your feet back up to your hands. Repeat this process for at 15-20 yards.