I've known of the performance advantages in competitive athletes who use a carbohydrate mouth rinse just before competition for some time now. It consists of swishing a sugary solution in your mouth and spitting it out just before competition. It stimulates reward pathways in your brain and can improve performance in competitions where every millisecond counts. This can be particularly helpful in Ketogenic athletes since they won't actually be ingesting any sugars and not altering their ketotic state.
This new article out of the JISSN however, opened my eyes to a broader topic that is relatable to almost everyone. Basically they found that a carbohydrate mouth rinse after exercise halted the decline in executive function associated with exercise. What makes this even more interesting is the fact that the researchers also measured stress hormones and found that the reason executive function was not hindered was the associated decrease in stress hormones found in test subjects who took the carbohydrate mouth rinse after exercise. So, athletic performance aside, what this article really outlines is that we simply cannot perform our best when under constant stress. Executive function deals with our ability to plan, pay attention, problem solve and remember things.
I'm not saying sugars are the answer here! I just want to point out that stress can immediately impact our cognitive abilities. Living constantly stressful lives without taking the time to meditate, enjoy hobbies, learn something new or just do things you love can have significant impacts on how you live your day to day life.
My favourite 2 apps that I recommend to almost everyone I see in practice for helping destress at home for free are Headspace and Down Dog. Headspace is a guided meditation app for your phone that you can set for as little as 2 minutes or as long as you can tolerate. Down dog is an amazing free yoga app that creates a new workout for you each time you use it and can be set to a time and difficulty level of your choosing. I love yoga for it's focus on breathing techniques while getting in some exercise and much needed stretching at the same time.
Let me know if any of you have other apps or things you like to do to help destress at the end of a long day or particularly difficult week. I'd love to hear and learn of new methods for myself and others!
Link to the article for those interested:
Dr. Rob Raponi ND, CISSN, B.Kine(Hons)