This past week, I was listening to a podcast on the subject of health and nutrition. While the content was pretty granular, a simple statement was made that has left my thinking... The podcast hosts were discussing the impact of food, alcohol, sleep, and other factors on our body when one turned and sharply said "but exercise is the great reset".
I have found this to be true in my own life. I am a data geek, and have likely splurged on the latest fitness trackers several times over. I have tried the Whoop, Oura, and Garmin's body battery. These devices all have their benefits, and I have found they tell me a consistent message... that when I over eat (especially dinner/sweets too late), over drink (more than two drinks a night and especially a drink after dinner), and when I go to bed after 11 PM - the quality of my sleep is severely impaired. Specifically, my resting heart rate is higher, my Heart Rate Variability is lower, and my brain is groggy the next morning because I did not go into the proper phase of "deep sleep" where our brains cleanse themselves and repair/restore for the next day. No judgement, we have all felt this and sometimes it takes data to validate what we are feeling.
However, what is the best thing to do after a poor night of sleep? That's right... get up and get moving. As hard as it can be, the best thing to do is to push through the temptation to snooze and skip your AM workout. Even a simple workout (such as a brisk walk) can have the impact of resetting our resting heart rate, increasing your Heart Rate Variability, and helping to pump blood through our brains to help us "reset" for the day ahead. Have you ever experience the mental clarity that comes after you finish exercising?
Thus, it looks like the old adage that exercise is the key remains true. Personally, I am a big fan of exercising first thing in the morning. I love to wake up and frankly, get my workout out of the way. I often fight resistance to get going, but I have never regretted getting in a run or a workout. Better, a morning workout is my key to a successful and productive day. You simply feel better, make better decisions, and can handle the stress of the day so much better. Exercise also helps me sleep better, which guess what, creates a positive feedback loop that starts again the next day. Exercise promotes better eating, which promotes better sleeping, which promotes more energy for exercise. It's an amazing positive feedback loop.
Now, I realize that everyone is different and we all have different physical and time constraints related to exercise. Yet, the majority of those are mental hurdles. Find a way to get around them and get moving. This beautiful spring weekend provides a great opportunity.
Also, a huge shout out to all the Moms out there. Happy Mother's Day and have a great weekend!