Important read for better health

Well we’re 12 days into the New Year, and hopefully those resolutions are going strong!  I wanted to take a moment and touch base on something that I think everyone fails to do enough of-and that’s SLEEP!  I know, you have 26 hours worth of life to cram into a 24 hour day and of those hours you can only get 5 maybe 6 hours worth of sleep.  Unfortunately for you and your kids that’s just not healthy.  Not only does your body require the right amount and kinds of food, but it also requires the time to rest and repair itself.  Many of you have read Coach George’s blog post Ingredient #3 In building the ultimate athlete….Rest and Recovery  and I also read a blog by Dr. Albert Fuchs; , who has a practice in Beverly Hills, CA, titled Sleep Deprivation Sabotages Dieting.  Now, as in my previous blogs, I don’t like the idea of dieting so understand that his thought about dieting is only for the pretense of this study.  He found that people who were in a controlled environment and were allowed to sleep 8.5 hours (wouldn’t that be awesome!) were more likely to lose 3 pounds of body fat compared to those in the 5.5 hour group (isn’t that most of us?) who lost the same amount of weight (3 lbs), but of that, 1.3 pounds was lean muscle mass.  I don’t know about you but I would rather lose body fat any day over lean muscle mass; I need all the muscle mass I can get for when I get older.  Now the study groups were not allowed to exercise but only performed normal activities (work, home, etc), but can you imagine what the results would’ve been had they been exercising and sleeping well?  As in Coach George’s previous blog, proper nutrition and REST is what everyone needs, but especially athletes!  If you haven’t read this blog, check it out here.

Now if sleep is that important for adults (and it is), it’s 10 times more for kids; that’s when their bodies do all the growing and repairing.  I use examples from my life because I’ve seen the changes in my son when he came to live with me.  Prior to his arrival he lived with his mom and step dad in Florida.  At the age of 13 he was just less than 5 feet tall, weighed 152 lbs and had a 32” waist.  He arrived in June 2008 and by January 2009 he was 5’6”, weighed 130 lbs and had a 29” waist.  This was accomplished by eating healthy meals, exercising and getting no less than 9 to 9 ½ hours of sleep a night.  I didn’t put him on a diet or a workout routine but changed the foods that were available to him and had him working out here at AR Matthews.  He loved doing the exercises and the food was healthy options and filled him up so he wasn’t snacking 30 minutes after eating.  I know this works!  I know for myself  when I run a race, I’m going to need at least 10 hours of sleep to allow my body to rest and repair.  That could be a 2 hour nap with 8 hours or a full 10 in the evening-if I don’t get this I have soreness and really tight muscles.

If you can’t change your sleeping habits, it’s imperative that you ensure your kids get plenty of rest and sleep.  Their growth really does depend on it!  We have a bedtime at our house of 9:30 during the week and 10:30 on the weekends.  This not only ensures that they get plenty of sleep but creates a routine so that their bodies can grow and repair.  I know that my son usually has a growth spurt in late September and early March-I can tell this based on his eating and sleeping habits.  During those times I try to have more healthy snacks around and get him to bed earlier and let him sleep a little later on the weekends.  I want to ensure that I’m doing everything possible to bring up a healthy athletic kid.  Many times a youth’s growth is stunted due to lack of sleep and nourishment, which is astounding considering we adults can provide everything they need.  

This is one more little thing that we can do to make a healthier lifestyle for both ourselves and our kids.  I understand that you can’t follow this everyday of every year, but if you do it more times than not, you’ll see and feel a difference in yourselves and your kids.  An extra bonus is that kids usually pay better attention in school and get higher grades….

Keep making one step at a time to healthier and happier families and we’ll see you in the gym!


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