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Why Sleep Is Important for Marathon Runners

  By posted Jan 10th 2013
Healthy Living


Importance of Sleep for Marathon Runners


If you're new to running marathons and have resolved to run your first full or half marathons in 2013, then sleep is an important part of your marathon training routine. Sleep is the most important thing for every individual, but due to hectic schedules most of us tend to avoid a good night's sleep. A good night's sleep, however, is important for marathon runners to avoid injuries and to build muscles. Eight hours of sleep is very important for runners, and even more so when they face trouble due to injuries and endurance. Today, we have Raj Vadgama – Martial Art trainer, Judo trainer, avid marathon runner and an admirable marathon coach, Mumbai, who helps us understand why sleep is important for marathon runners…

Raj says, "If you do not get a full fledged good night's sleep, then your body won’t be able to repair itself. After a long workout and tiring exercise schedule, your muscles break down and hence they falter to grow, due to micro tears and splits. To repair these torn muscles, sleep is essential for every runner." 

Wondering how muscles repair themselves when you are asleep?
Dr. K.M. Sunesara – GP, Mumbai helps us understand this natural process. He says, "Your body has the natural ability to repair your torn muscles, so that it is easier for you to continue carrying your daily tasks. This repairing makes the muscles stronger. All this repairing and maintenance happens when you are asleep. To explain the entire mechanism he says – when you sleep, you enter in a relaxation stage as your body’s temperature and heart beat slows down. This makes you enter in a rapid eye movement (REM) stage, wherein the body releases growth hormones to repair the torn muscles. During the time of repairing, the muscles are paralyzed, to achieve maximum results."  

Besides the usual repairing of the muscles, sleep is also essential for the proper functioning of the immune system. Sleep helps to maintain the level of T-cells, which plays an important role in activating and directing the various immune cells.

Hence, to attain best results on race day, you should get at least 8 hours of sleep the previous night and also during your entire training schedule. If you have trouble sleeping, then make a schedule of getting up and going to bed, avoid large meals at night, choose a comfortable bed and ensure the room is dark. 

One last reminder from Raj: "To win or to complete the race without injuries, invest yourself in a good night's sleep." 

*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images

 

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