“Mens sana in corpore sano” – A healthy mind in a healthy body. You’re probably well familiar with this good old Latin quote, but how seriously do you put it to use in your life? You’d be in good company if your answer is no. Many make the mistake of failing to care for the mind when working on their body goals.
While your physical health is important for your mental health and performance, the same can be said for the latter in relation to the first. In other words, to be able to get the wanted athletic results, you have to work on both as they go hand in hand. So, my focus here is helping you out with keeping the mind healthy by showing you some effective strategies.
1. Take Supplements
Athletes of all sorts are pretty much acquainted with supplements and their effects on building muscle, weight loss, and stamina, however, there are those that are beneficial for the brain too.
When you buy health supplements that are mineral and vitamin-based, you get the chance to give your body and mind an extra boost, and promote general health and well-being. In fact, you can use them to boost your mental focus and concentration, improve mood and physical stamina, raise your energy levels, reduce tiredness and fatigue, as well as relieve muscle aches.
While there are various minerals and vitamins you can introduce into your lifestyle, the following are recommended for optimal mental and physical performance.
Having in mind they’re involved in the bodily processes that convert nutrients into energy, it’s needless to point out they’re essential for resilience, alertness, and productivity.
Besides having a balanced diet, enriching it with foods high in B vitamins, like some of the most popular superfoods, legumes (e.g. green beans, lentils), eggs, whole grains, dark vegetables (e.g. spinach, broccoli), seeds and nuts, you can also reap the daily benefits of B vitamin supplements.
Have you ever found yourself working out more than you can handle? If your answer is yes, and your diet isn’t exactly rich in fruits and veggies that offer antioxidants like vitamin C, then you’re not doing your body a favour considering too much exercise can result in fatigue and muscle damage.
As a vitamin crucial for protecting the cells, as well as the development, growth and repair of the tissues, it has its role in reducing the effects of oxidative stress. Apart from reaching for foods packed with vitamin C, you could buy health supplements too, just remember not to go overboard with the dosage or you risk getting side-effects!
Dietary intake alone may not be enough when it comes to getting the necessary dose of magnesium, which can result in some of these symptoms: fatigue, weakness, lack of energy, muscle cramps and abnormal heart rhythm.
As a mineral at the centre of different chemical body reactions, among which conversion of B vitamins, healthy bone mass, muscle function, and physical performance, you should ensure you get the right amount. This can be done by adding more foods rich in magnesium to your diet, and taking supplements online pharmacies and stores provide.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Not to speak badly of the “low fat” diet trends, but healthy fats like Omega 3 are a must if you want to improve your mental and athletic performance. As integral parts of the body cell membranes, they’re important for the cognitive functions, DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) and reduction of muscle loss. You can curb deficiency in healthy fatty acids by introducing supplements, as well as foods in the example of walnuts, salmon, herring, sardines, oysters, and plant oils like soybean oil.
2. Improve Sleep Hygiene
How often is it that you spend the nights without catching any z’s? If it’s more often than you’d like to admit, it’s high time you worked on this crucial aspect of life. As sleep is a particularly vital factor for performance, it’s needless to point out that just a single sleepless night can be detrimental for your fitness goals, let alone well-being.
When you don’t get enough z’s, you risk impacting your focus, muscle recovery, motor function, weight gain, and motivation. This means that sleep isn’t less important than nutrition and hydration for your exercise accomplishments. If you find it difficult to fall asleep easily and get quality sleep every night, take a good look at your sleep hygiene and try to improve it.
It’s All About Routine
Simply put, it’s about consistency, i.e. the habits you have and do every day. For those who don’t have good sleep hygiene, I suggest starting with a routine with fixed timing. Go to bed at the same time every night, and wake up at the same time every morning.
Moreover, what you do before bed should be consistent too – from the time you have your last meal at night (preferably three hours before calling it a night) to the time when you put on your pyjamas, brush your teeth and turn off electronics.
Optimise Your Bedroom Environment
In addition, your bedroom needs some attention too, as you ought to make it the oasis it has to be for you to make the most of restful sleep. Besides clearing out clutter, and choosing your mattress and mattress topper carefully, minding materials, comfort and support, don’t forget to block out light by getting the help of blockout blinds and drown noise by using white noise machines and earplugs.
What are the ways and means you use to cope with stressful situations in life? Don’t get me wrong, not all stress is bad, as a bit of stress can be beneficial for alertness. But too much of it, and you risk impacting your athlete performance. Things get even worse when you’re competing and anxiety takes over you!
Having the right relaxing strategy, such as meditation can be of immense help in the long-run. This is so because it assists with reducing the anxiety and fear by improving mental toughness and the focus on the here and now, which consequentially has a positive effect on peak performance.
If you’re new to meditation, I suggest seeking professional guidance to get the training program tailored to your needs and specific sport you’re into, since there are various exercises and techniques involved that require adequate use for optimal results.