Exercise, the ultimate Lifehack
Sleep better, eat better, feel better.
Its Friday, the end of long working week and I’m feeling quite tired. I get home eat something nice, relax with my girlfriend and hit the hay. I sleep for maybe 8 hours, when I wake up I feel like crap. I’m not refreshed, I’m not revitalised, I’m just plain old tired.This is a common occurance. I’ve been pretty active all my life and have been playing sports since I was physically able, exercising between 3-7 days a week, but at certain times for whatever reason its easy to ‘misplace’ your exercise time.
So what were the effects, I became unfit? Thats certainly one effect but its not the biggest by any means. My sleep patterns, appetite and mood suffer more than anything. I feel lethargic, lose appetite and can easily be viewed by others as being moody. The longer the gap between exercise the worse I feel. At multiple stages I’ve lost my rhythm and every single time I feel the full effects of doing so.There are lots of other effects but the ones above effect you the most.
I recently had the privilege of seeing Ariana Huffington speak, she placed a huge value on sleep and noted the positive effect good sleep has on productivity. While I definitely agree I think placing an equal value on exercise can be even more beneficial. I view exercise as one step further back in the chain and one of its by-products are better sleeps. So what do I mean when I say a better sleep, well I’m not talking about length of time asleep.
I track my sleep each night with a wristband from Jawbone called the UP. It tracks your movement and length of time asleep to show how well you slept. Often, as I stated above, I will sleep for long amounts of time but feel no real value from that time asleep. What I tend to find when I exercise is that not only do I feel much better when I wake but I actually sleep less. The quality of my sleep is much better, the band shows this through stats on deep and light sleep throughout the night. I recently had two nights, one after the other, where I slept seven and six and a half hours respectively. I had four hours deep sleep the second day compared to just three the first. And boy did I feel the results. I also tend to fall asleep quicker on nights where I have exercised that day. All the data on days where I exercised easily trumps the data on days where I didn’t.
I’ve tried to come up with a way to summarise what exercise does for me. My best attempt thus far is that exercise is like a rebooting a computer, it gets rid of all the crap and gives you a fresh start. So find somewhere nice for a run/walk or even use that gym membership you bought! The benefits above only begin to describe the benefits I feel when I get active, I leave the rest for you to discover in your own time.