I have a Whoop app. It shows me all kinds of interesting and useful information about my current state of health. One key thing it shows is the balance between exertion and recovery. Whoop breaks recovery down into a percentage and into green, yellow and red zones. How recovered you are dictates how effective your exertion is going to be. There is a balance between effective recovery and effective exertion. Basically, what Whoop does is help you stay in Daily Balance.
Further, when my sleep pattern is suffering, my recovery goes down and I find myself out of homeostasis or balance. When that happens, my exertion levels are both lower and less effective. They are connected.
However, most people don't have a Whoop app and most people don't track their data like some. For me it is important to ensure that I am in balance and my key metrics are where they need to be in order to be as healthy as possible. I could bore you with a break down of all of this and how it works, but because it is the Christmas holiday, my gift to you is to spare you from this.
Why does this matter?
What does this have to do with the name of the product Daily Balance? Everything.
When don't get enough sleep, we don't think clearly and perform in our lives and jobs less effectively. When we are not properly recovered and over-exert we can unknowingly injure ourselves. When we are stressed or we feel out of sorts, we have trouble sleeping and this creates issues with our bodies. We get dehydrated. Our bodies experience stress from the chemicals such as cortisol that our brains trigger the manufacture of. This can create inflammation in certain tissues. This inflammation causes unexpected and unwanted issues to manifest, such as degradation in mobility, balance and flexibility.
Maintaining a daily balance is critical to remaining healthy and happy both mentally and physically.
Let me give you a real life example.
I have a relative who is in generally good shape who is in his early 70's. Not too long ago, he was dealing with some prolonged stress. This impacted his sleeping and his energy level wasn't as high as it had been. His recovery levels were down. Pretty much everything I outline above was subtly manifesting in his body.
One day he was in line at the donut shop with his granddaughter (pre-COVID), when he let out a giant sneeze. That sneeze caused him to throw out his back. He had to go to a chiropractor and was out of commission, unable to return to the gym for nearly two weeks. He was out of balance. You might think this an extreme example.
Let me give you another.
I was dealing with a higher level of prolonged stress myself a few years back because of a job I had. The pressure was enormous and I had not kept up with my regular training regime, I was chronically dehydrated without knowing it, as most of us are and I was having trouble sleeping. This is a pre-Whoop period of time, prior to the onset of good health tracking wearables, but I am guessing my metrics were in the toilet. Sleep efficiency, recovery, HRV, blood oxygenation, etc. All of these things truly play a role in our health. I made my way to my cycling team's training camp in the mountains between North and South Carolina and just felt off. I am a pretty good rider, so I compensated for it and powered through.
However, in descending a mountain road chasing a team mate, my reaction time was diminished due to being out of balance. I ended up crashing. It was serious enough they considered a Lifeline helicopter and the crash resulted in a complete and total shoulder reconstruction.
How about another.
A friend of mine was getting ready to compete in a 10k. He is an ultra-runner (50-100 mile running races through the mountains.
His last race was the Leadville 100, which STARTS at nearly 10,000 feet), so a 10k is, well...nothing. It was a sprint. It was supposed to be his taper into his next ultra race in Southern California. Plane tickets bought, bags packed, hotel room booked, everything planned, friends coming in to cheer him on then onto Balboa Bay with his wife for a few days. Perfect.
This was post the 2020 COVID lock down and he came out of it, like many of us, stressed. General, normal, elevated stress that 90% of everyone has experienced over the last two years. He was not sleeping great. Do you sense a reoccurring theme here?
He was dehydrated, he had some minor inflammation in his calves and quads and his lumbar he thought because he had just started his taper and had been doing longer runs up to two days before.
Coming off the start line, he tried to get out front, got tangled up with another runner, lost his balance and went down and tore his ACL in the process. He'd run a whopping 60 yards before the EMT's had to carry him off the tarmac and he was done for the year. Just like that. Why? He was out of balance. It can happen to anyone. It can be big incidents like the second example, it can be out of the blue like the third example or it can be a sneeze like the first example.
One final one for you. My mom recently got up too quick and her leg cramped. She lost her balance, tripped and fell. She cut her head open and ended up with a mild concussion.
Anxiety, stress, sleep issues, dehydration all lead to the opportunity. Injury.
So, here are some tips:
- Drink more water than you want to. It will be come a habit and a good one.
- Limit alcohol. Alcohol is often a go-to-stress management tool but a bad one. It WREAKS your sleep and it dehydrates you terribly. It also impacts both cognitive and non-cognitive brain functions, and when things like this happen, balance, vision and judgement can be impaired. When you dehydrate, your tissues inflame. See examples above.
- Sleep against a consistent cycle. If you wake up and your brain is racing from stress or anxiety, grab your ear buds and plug into sound therapy music. The body operates at different frequencies and when certain frequencies are matched, body activities can be kickstarted or accelerated. Here is a good place to start.
- Use an anti-inflammatory topical regularly on stressed areas and where old injuries have occurred. That is where inflammation goes first. Inflammation is your good health enemy.
- Use an anti-inflammatory topical prior to or even during exertion. Especially if you are not fully recovered or not sleeping well or feel you are dehydrated.
- Use an anti-inflammatory topical post exertion to promote recovery.
How much of an anti-inflammatory topical should you use?
Every 1-3 Days: Use the equivalent of a penny sized amount on stressed areas and where old injuries have occurred. Best to apply in the morning.
As needed, post exertion to promote recovery, use a quarter sized amount on each area or major muscle group that has done the work. Lumbar, quads, shoulders, biceps, etc. Apply within an hour of the exertion and again the following morning.
As needed, prior to or during exertion, use a half dollar sized amount each area or major muscle group that will or is doing the work.
If you'd like to try Daily Balance, use my discount code: 'BetterHealth' for 20% off your purchase. Click here to get started.