A couple of weeks ago, we asked you to share your stories about major or minor life changes. Here’s one so romantic that you’d almost suspect it’s from a movie.
“Me and my boyfriend had just arrived in beautiful, sunny Mauritius. The apartment we rented for the first part of our holiday was next to the sea and my boyfriend put up his hammock between two palm trees. He asked me to join him in the hammock and we lay there as the sky started turning pink from the sunset. Suddenly he reached for a small box in the pocket of the hammock. He proposed to me with the Oura ring! I was so surprised and happy! He had found the last ring available in my size and got it just in time for our trip. I didn’t suspect anything. As a physiotherapist and biohacker, I’ve been super enthusiastic about all the new information about my health that the ring has given me.”
Le Morne beach in Mauritius. Photo: Teemu Haila.
The lucky girl behind this story is Mimmi Sundman. She’s a physiotherapist who lives a very active life in Finland. The romantic trip took place in November 2017, and now Mimmi carries a black Oura ring on her finger.
Mimmi Sundman. Photo: Teemu Haila.
Topics such as activity, recovery and nutrition are close to Mimmi’s heart. Here’s what she had to say about them.
In addition to having a physiotherapy practice, which alone means a lot of activity during the workday, Mimmi is also a group exercise instructor. You can spot her leading water aerobics, fitness classes, kettlebell and body weight exercises, and so forth. She also bikes to work.
“I always wanted to have a job that keeps me active, it makes me feel good”, Mimmi says.
But even physiotherapists have more inactive days. As any entrepreneur knows, administrative duties often require you to sit down.
“Stationary time is the worst. It’s so much more burdensome to your body. And even though I know that I need to break the long periods of inactivity, it’s sometimes hard for me, too”, Mimmi laughs.
“You know it in your body when you’ve been inactive for too long. If you just have the patience to listen to your body, you notice when it’s time to move a bit. Even a tiny shift in your posture makes a difference: change the chair to a gym ball or stand for a while, for example.”
It’s fair to argue that Mimmi doesn’t need a tracker to tell her whether she’s been active enough.
“Recovery tracking is the main reason I got excited about the Oura ring. I’m not a good sleeper, I wake up many times a night, and sometimes it stresses me a bit whether there’s an optimal balance between the amount of rest and activity I get.”
Mimmi points out that overtraining might not always be caused by excess activity, but by an imbalance between load and recovery.
“You may not see it yourself, the overload, because your body adapts to different conditions quite quickly. You might notice that you feel more tired, but after a while it becomes the status quo, you get used to it.”
“It’s great that I now have data about my recovery. I know how I’m doing, I don’t need to stress about it anymore.”
The data Oura gives to Mimmi has surprised her on one account.
“It has been interesting to find out that my body reacts to mental and physical strain quite differently. Before I had the Oura ring, I had always thought the reaction would be the same. I noticed that I was wrong after two journeys I made. The other one strained my mind more than my body, but I expected the mental load to show in my resting heart rate anyway. It didn’t.”
In Mimmi’s case, it seems that her body is more sensitive to physical strain. If there’s too much of it, her resting heart rate doesn’t come down that quickly, and her heart rate variability is lower than normally.
“I think it’s unique to an individual, how our bodies react to different types of strain. Our resilience to different types of mental and physical loads varies. And I suppose it can also be that mental strain affects us more in the longer run.”
Mimmi has also noticed that her daily activity load goes down if she hasn’t recovered well.
“There’s a solid correlation. If my resting heart rate has been higher than it normally is, my activity levels on the following day are lower. I just don’t have the energy.”
Since Mimmi lives an active lifestyle, what are her own tips to ensure adequate levels of recovery?
“For people who are very active, the need to exercise can be a mental thing, rather than just physical. Our heads tell us that we need to move, even though our bodies might not be up to it.”
“If there’s a danger that you don’t recover well enough, try to replace some of your high-intensity activities with lower-intensity versions. Go for a walk in the forest, stretch, meditate, whatever suits you. You get the feeling that you’re doing something, but instead of straining your body, you help it to recover.”
For Mimmi, nutrition is one of the key elements in her wellbeing combo.
“I’ve studied nutrition quite much, and have noticed that even tiny changes in your diet can make a huge impact on your body’s energy levels during the day. I can see from my Oura data how what I eat and drink affects me, the effect of alcohol for example.”
“The timing of meals is important, and the Oura app has notified me of the influence of a late meal to my sleep. Though I think that this, too, is very individual.”
Overall, it’s finding the best practices for yourself that is important. Mimmi recommends starting with small steps.
“It’s not just that you need to be active enough and sleep well enough, but so many other things affect your wellbeing: nutrition and stress management, for example. And all these things are very complex and intertwined. So, it might be a good idea to start with one topic, such as sleep, and take it from there.”
“It’s really important to learn what are the things that make you feel better or worse.”
Got interested in tracking your recovery? Learn more about the new Oura ring and its recovery tracking.