Last weekend I traveled to South Lake Tahoe, California to hike for the weekend. If you were like me and never heard of Tahoe before, then you need to set aside some vacation days and head there. Now, Tahoe isn't just for hiking and being one with nature. There are plenty of places to party and socialize including casino's, bars, and live music. So of course, I gambled, drank and stayed up all night. Even though I drank heavily and slept little, I still woke up for my morning hikes. Don't get me wrong, it was hard to wake up on five hours of sleep, but once I got outdoors, I felt my fatigue disappear. I was shocked to have high levels of energy throughout the day on such little rest. Usually, I need between seven to nine hours per night to function, but I was running on five to six hours a night. And it wasn't like I was sitting around all day doing nothing. Over the course of the weekend, I hiked three trails that collectively totaled about 20 miles. My two favorite hikes of the weekend were Mt. Tallac and Maggies Peaks. (Excuse the selfie and click through to see Tahoe's beauty.)
The exercise ball, also known as the Swiss Ball, was developed in 1963 by Aquilino Cosani, an Italian plastics manufacturer. According to Wikipedia, the term "Swiss Ball" was used when American physical therapists began to use those techniques in North America after witnessing their benefits in Switzerland. And According to Dwight Schrute (my favorite character from The Office), "This ab workout is specifically designed to strengthen your core. It has numerous health benefits, strengthens your back, better performance in sports, more enjoyable sex." I agree with Dwight and the physical therapists. And so does the latest research.
In my six year experience as a personal trainer, I am constantly asked if we should be eating past a certain time. When I am asked the question, the client expects a quick yes or no answer. Unfortunately, it is not black or white. From a calorie perspective, the timing of food has minimal importance. The most important factor is a caloric balance. But, nothing in life operates in a vacuum. We can't just look at calories in versus calories out when we are focused on overall health. We must look broader and include all the pillars of health.
Sleep is one of the most important factors when it comes to being healthy. We know that you should get between 7-9 hours a night of sleep. We also know that the majority of people fail to sleep this much. And to top it off, most people are not getting good quality sleep either. Put simply, we are a sleep deprived world. Technology has played a massive role in this sleep debt. Our phones, laptops, televisions, and bedroom lights expose us to blue light 24/7. Blue light, just like the sun, wakes us up and plays a role in our circadian rhythm. As the day turns into night, blue light fades away and the sleep process begins. But this hardly occurs due to the technology mentioned above. And this should worry you because excessive evening light exposure can disrupt the circadian rhythm and put you at a greater risk for weight gain, decreased energy, and a weakened immune system. I believe this is due to a melatonin deficiency.