I know what you’re thinking, ‘I thought CP.com was a safe haven! I’ve had it up to here with this self-help mindfulness pseudo-science bollocks‘ but bear with me, this stuff is decent, and it’s all backed up by science. Stick with it, try it for a week and see how it goes. If you don’t get anything from it fine (but you will), and if you do get into it, even if you don’t stick with it, you still have a blueprint for feeling better if you need it in the future.
These steps are recommended to be followed 5-6 days a week, ideally, however two are recommenced every day, which I will come to at the end.
- STICK TO A SET WAKE UP TIME
Some of us have the luxury of choosing when to wake in accordance with their body clocks, others have to work at set times, but everyone can gain some control of when they wake. Having the same daily wake up time helps set the time slot for going to bed to ensure you get the required 6-8 hrs sleep a day. Yep, not the idealised ‘must have 8 hours every night’ – everyone is different, it depends on how you function. It is recommended that even if you have a late night to still get up at the same time every day. This allows you quickly to get back into your rhythm.
Going to bed at the same time every day is recommended but going to bed tired enough to sleep is also important.
2. FORWARD AMBULATION (AS SOON AS YOU ARE OUT OF BED)
Basically this is walking, can also be running or cycling, outdoors. Even just 2 mins (hence walking is ideal) of this is good, 10 mins better, and 30 mins + is perfect.
F.A. helps set your body clock and lowers activity in the amygdala. The amygdala is part of the limbic system, a neural network that mediates many aspects of emotion and memory.
Humans need sunlight and many health benefits are well known, such as Vitamin D, but an early morning dose of sunshine releases seratonin, and this early exposure right after waking will help you get to sleepy at around the same time, later in the day, when the body releases melatonin. By getting out and moving right after waking, at the same time each day, you are aiding your Circadian Clock to become a well-oiled machine.
Also, when walking etc (FA) in the outdoors, we pass things and hear things: this is known as Optic / Audio Flow, which lowers the activity in the amygdala, the area of the brain that produces stress and anxiety, and hampers memory.
Doing this early in the day allows us to be alert yet calm, and is considered to be vital to mental and physical health. Try this before eating breakfast, and see .5 for why.
Critical to mental performance. 16-32 ounces (500ml to 1l) a day is ideal. A half teaspoon of sea salt in your first glass is recommended as the nervous system need sodium, potassium and magnesium to function properly.
The best time to drink coffee is 90-120mins post-wake up. Why? Because caffeine is an adenosine blocker and adenosine is a a compound in the mind that makes you feel tired. So, you drink coffee, you feel awake.
But, if you drink coffee as soon as you get up, what happens is that when the caffeine’s effect on the receptors wears off, the adenosine suddenly kicks in and you feel drowsy. That’s why you get an afternoon slump in energy levels. Drinking coffee later will mean this effect kicks in later in the evening, when your body and mind should naturally be feeling less energy.
Drink it later in the day and you will again have the trouble of the adenosine receptors being blocked, which prevents sleep.
Fasting til 3-4 hrs post-wake up creates a higher alertness and yet a calmer brain state, as when you are fasting you body naturally raises its adrenaline volume. This promotes higher focus and increases memory. As cyclists though, we must be sure we eat enough to get through a workout!
6. PHYSICAL EXERCISE
An hour or so is recommended, 5 days a week at least, including weights and cardio. Cardio work bring benefits we all know, and also do some sort of ‘weight’ work too, could be pushups, core work etc. This kind of works helps skeletal health and boosts the immune system too.
7. ‘WEEKEND DRIFT’
This is one day a week if not two when you should try to do nothing at all – no beeps, no whistles, no bike. Not easy for many but it is necessary to recharge and to just simply relax.
HOWEVER, every day, 7 days a week, it is recommended to get in the morning sun and the forward ambulation, for between 10 and 30 mins at a relaxed pace, and to get up every day at the same time too.
Hope this is useful, please email email@example.com for more coaching advice.