Welcome to the fifth week of Tri the Challenge-Summer. This week we shift our focus to “Maintaining your Machine”. In other words, we will explore how properly fueling and maintaining your body contributes to performing at your physical best. To coincide with the fifth week of the program, we have created a list of five important factors to consider when aiming to not only take proper care of your body, but ultimately reach your personal Tri the Challenge goals.
- Proper Hydration: Water makes up two-thirds of your body and is your most important nutrient. Water acts as an internal “car wash” by assisting in digestion, flushing out toxins, regulating body temperature and promoting healthier skin. In relation to Tri the Challenge, exercise often requires you to increase your fluid intake. According to UW Health Sports Medicine staff, “If you do any exercise that makes you sweat, you need to replace those fluids before, during and after your workout.” For more information on the benefits of hydration for your physical and mental health, view our Drink It Up: Water Challenge.
- Nutrition: Ponder this question…Would you ever try to drive somewhere on an empty tank of gas? Would you be surprised that your car didn’t work properly when not provided with adequate fuel? The same thought process can be applied to properly fueling your body. UW Health offers numerous Eating for Your Health resources to help you plan, prepare, and enjoy foods that are not only nutrient rich and healthy, but will also fuel your body for physical activity.
- Sleep: Getting a good night’s sleep is important to living a happy, productive and healthy life. Sleep and exercise share an interesting relationship, exemplified by the fact that they both benefit each other. From a physical perspective, sleep is crucial to both muscle and cell recovery, and is the time when many of our body’s restorative functions take place. Research shows that people who exercise regularly often report getting better sleep compared to those who live sedentary lives. Our Sleep Well Course offers useful information and tools to help prioritize your own restful and restorative sleep.
- Stretching: Taking the time to incorporate stretching into your exercise routine is a great way to promote proper body maintenance, posture and mechanics. Stretching prior to exertion may help to loosen up muscles, increase your range of motion and prepare your body for activity. Adding a stretch post exercise increases blood flow to your muscles, resulting in faster recovery and reduced soreness.
- Relax and Recharge Your Mind: Life is busy. Navigating how to fit exercise into your daily routine can be stressful when juggling work, family and leisure activities. Taking time to relax and evaluate your purpose is a great way to reinforce your “why” for accepting your triathlon challenge and may provide further motivation. Consider our relaxation guide as a tool to help begin relating to stress differently and create balance in your daily life.
We invite you to focus on at least one of the above areas this week and reflect how it makes a difference during your workouts! We hope this will be a useful tool while you continue working toward your respective triathlon goals using the tracker to log your progress.