Sleep And The Successful Athlete

Like every fitness columnist, I talk a lot about keeping your body in motion. But this week, I’m looking back at all the times I’ve focused on the need to be still.

Rest is a critical but too-often-overlooked part of fitness. Here’s a look back at some of my favorite columns about shut-eye and rest.

You’ll Never Meet Fitness Goals Without Rest

We so often we hear about the benefits of exercise and the perils of inactivity.

Fitness columns and motivational posters exhort us to exercise longer and sweat more. Trainers and fitness writers tell us we should savor the hard work and soreness. It’s easy to fall into a frantic “must work out every single day” mode.

But whether you’re training for a marathon, trying to bulk up at the gym or just getting your steps in, there’s one component of a quality workout routine that is essential to optimal fitness: rest.

Exercise means nothing without rest. Fitness goals cannot be met without adequate recovery in between workouts.

The Tricky Relationship Between Napping And Running

I was a siesta skeptic until an afternoon snooze helped me survive a punishing gauntlet of runs. But research shows you have to approach naps with caution.

Tired But Busy? Make the Most of Your Sleep

Sleep is critical to recovery and performance but hard to make time for when you’re busy. It’s possible to get quality sleep when time is in short supply. I’ve learned a few ways to hack your sleep and get the most out of your snooze time. Here’s how to get the most out of your sleep.

Get Enough Sleep to Make Workouts Count

We spend one-third of our lives sleeping. Our bodies and brains rely on sleep to function. But if there is one facet of the fitness that we athletes tend to sacrifice, it’s sleep and recovery.

Skimping on much needed Zs can halt fitness progress, increase your risk for injury in the gym or on the road, and hinder critical body processes. However often athletes are told to prioritize sleep, it’s the first thing we sacrifice during a busy work week.

So I’m laying it all out for you in the hopes of inspiring a few of you to find a little extra snooze time. Here’s everything you need to know about sleep as an athlete.

Knowing When You Need to Rest

Usually, the most effective ways to take rest days are to pencil them into your weekly workout plan so you can schedule the rest of your life around them. It’s not perfect, though. Scheduling rest days can make it more difficult to take an unscheduled rest day when you’re injured or feeling abnormal fatigue.

Sometimes it’s hard to listen to your body. When the sun is shining and all you want to do is share the beautiful day with your running shoes, ignoring pain or fatigue just happens and taking the day off is near impossible. But ignoring your body’s warning signs will force you to take more days off than you’d ever want to.