The Top 10 Benefits Of Regular Exercise
Exercise is defined as any movement that makes your muscles work and requires your body to burn calories.
There are many types of physical activity, including swimming, running, jogging, walking, and dancing, to name a few.
Being active has been shown to have many health benefits, both physically and mentally. It may even help you live longer (
It Can Help Your Brain Health And Memory
Exercise can improve brain function and protect memory and thinking skills.
To begin with, it increases your heart rate, which promotes the flow of blood and oxygen to your brain. It can also stimulate the production of hormones that enhance the growth of brain cells.
Plus, the ability of exercise to prevent chronic disease can translate into benefits for your brain, since its function can be affected by these diseases .
Regular physical activity is especially important in older adults since aging combined with oxidative stress and inflammation promotes changes in brain structure and function (
With regard to sleep quality, the energy depletion that occurs during exercise stimulates recuperative processes during sleep .
Moreover, the increase in body temperature that occurs during exercise is thought to improve sleep quality by helping it drop during sleep .
Many studies on the effects of exercise on sleep have reached similar conclusions.
One review of six studies found that participating in an exercise training program helped improve self-reported sleep quality and reduced sleep latency, which is the amount of time it takes to fall asleep .
Another older study showed that 16 weeks of physical activity improved sleep quality and helped 17 people with insomnia sleep longer and more deeply than the control group. It also helped them feel more energized during the day .
Dont Be A Nighttime Clock
Staring at a clock in your bedroom, either when you are trying to fall asleep or when you wake in the middle of the night, can actually increase stress, making it harder to fall asleep. Turn your clocks face away from you. And if you wake up in the middle of the night and cant get back to sleep in about 20 minutes, get up and engage in a quiet, restful activity such as reading or listening to music. And keep the lights dim bright light can stimulate your internal clock. When your eyelids are drooping and you are ready to sleep, return to bed.
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Will Exercise Really Help Me Get Better Sleep
The Question: Will exercise help me sleep better at night?
The Answer: An exercise routine can actually improve sleep quality, according to Alon Avidan, professor of neurology and director of the UCLA Sleep Disorders Center. However, there are a few caveats: How you exercise matters and what time you work out can have a big impact, too.
Regular workouts that are consistent, three to four times a week, 30 minutes in duration are much better for you than working out once a week for two hours, Avidan told HuffPost.
The consistent part is critical. A 2013 study found that people with insomnia only started to sleep more soundly after four months of regular, weekly workouts, the New York Times reported.
Avidan also recommends endurance-based, aerobic workouts to promote better sleep. Running, swimming, bicycling and brisk walks all help.
Additionally, its important to exercise either early in the morning or in the afternoon. High-intensity exercise right before bed can be disruptive to sleep, according to Helen Driver, manager of the sleep disorders lab at Kingston General Hospital and Queens University in Ontario, Canada. If you want to work out before you settle into your sheets, try something less strenuous.
Exercise, if its built into your routine, can help you sleep, Driver told HuffPost. Stretching exercises, to running on a regular basis, to strength exercises. Yoga can improve peoples sleep quality.
Twelve Simple Tips To Improve Your Sleep
Falling asleep may seem like an impossible dream when youre awake at 3 a.m., but good sleep is more under your control than you might think. Following healthy sleep habits can make the difference between restlessness and restful slumber. Researchers have identified a variety of practices and habitsknown as sleep hygiene”that can help anyone maximize the hours they spend sleeping, even those whose sleep is affected by insomnia, jet lag, or shift work.Sleep hygiene may sound unimaginative, but it just may be the best way to get the sleep you need in this 24/7 age. Here are some simple tips for making the sleep of your dreams a nightly reality:
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Better To Fit In That Early Morning Workout Or Log An Extra Hour Of Sleep
Getting enough sleep and getting regular exercise are both important, so how do you decide which one takes priority? You really shouldnt put yourself in that position, because you absolutely need both.
But if its not possible to find that perfect balance all the time, I would say sleep is always the priority, unless your sleep is almost always sound in quality and quantity, says Winter.
So if you got seven to eight hours of sleep the night before, get up and hit the gym! But if youve been clocking less than six hours most nights that week, you probably want to savor that extra hour of sleep. If you skip it, chances are youll log a subpar workout, anyway.
And if you were up all night the night before, definitely choose sleep! Winter says. After an all-nighter , your body needs the rest more than ever.
The bottom line is, if youre not getting the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep per night, you need to rethink your schedule so you can make sure you do and then you have to figure out how to fit in your regular workouts without sacrificing that sleep. You cant have one without the other both are absolutely essential to you being able to operate at 100 percent not just in the gym, but in your everyday life, too.
Easing Back Pain With Flexibility Exercises
Stretching or flexibility training is the third prong of a balanced exercise program. Muscles tend to shorten and weaken with age. Shorter, stiffer muscle fibers make you vulnerable to injuries, back pain, and stress. But regularly performing exercises that isolate and stretch the elastic fibers surrounding your muscles and tendons can counteract this process. And stretching improves your posture and balance.
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Alleviate Stress Before Bed
Stress and sleep are inextricably linked. When sleep-deprived, we have less control over our breathing and blood pressureforcing us to react to everyday stressors in unhealthy ways. But stress can also cause wakefulness and racing thoughts.
To prevent this, you can perform a relaxing, stress-reducing activity before bed. Consider taking a warm bath or shower, reading, journaling, or performing a breathing experience. These activities can help you release tension and anxiety, so you can fall asleep peacefully.
Americans are missing out on valuable hours of sleepabout a third of us get below the recommended 7 hours per night. Whether thats due to stress, insomnia, or intentionally putting off rest, sleep deprivation can be dangerous.
Certainly, stress reduces our focus, decision-making skills, and simple hand-eye coordination, not to mention that it can lead to serious health complications over time. Therefore, we must do what we can to find better sleep.
Regular exercise can help you maintain good health, manage stress, and find the rest you need to be our best.
It Can Increase Your Energy Levels
Exercise can be a real energy booster for many people, including those with various medical conditions .
One older study found that 6 weeks of regular exercise reduced feelings of fatigue for 36 people who had reported persistent fatigue .
Furthermore, exercise can significantly increase energy levels for people with chronic fatigue syndrome and other serious illnesses .
In fact, exercise seems to be more effective at combating CFS than other treatments, including passive therapies like relaxation and stretching or no treatment at all (
Engaging in regular physical activity can increase your energy levels. This is true even in people with persistent fatigue and those with serious health conditions.
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Sleep On A Supportive Mattress
It can be difficult to find proper sleep rest on an old, broken down mattress. When resting on a bed with indentations, your body will overcompensate for the lack of support by sleeping in awkward positions. These uncomfortable positions can throw the spine out of alignment and increase tensioncausing you to wake with sore, achy muscles and stiff joints.
Memory foam mattresses contour to the curves of the body to provide pressure-free support and pain relief. However, memory foam varies significantly in terms of quality and breathability. To find the best memory foam mattress on the market, look for one that wont trap heat and also has a responsiveness that will help you feel more lifted on the mattress, rather than sunk.
To find the best mattress for your preferred sleep position, you will want to consider firmness. For those that prefer side sleeping, a soft to medium firmness level will cushion sensitive hips and shoulders while keeping the spine neutral.
Those who prefer back and stomach sleeping may want to opt for something on the firmer sidemedium to firm. This firmness will prevent the hips and shoulders from sinking too far down and keep weight evenly distributed.
Exercise And Ptsd And Trauma
Evidence suggests that by really focusing on your body and how it feels as you exercise, you can actually help your nervous system become unstuck and begin to move out of the immobilization stress response that characterizes PTSD or trauma. Instead of allowing your mind to wander, pay close attention to the physical sensations in your joints and muscles, even your insides as your body moves. Exercises that involve cross movement and that engage both arms and legssuch as walking , running, swimming, weight training, or dancingare some of your best choices.
Outdoor activities like hiking, sailing, mountain biking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, and skiing have also been shown to reduce the symptoms of PTSD.
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What Are The Mental Health Benefits Of Exercise
Exercise is not just about aerobic capacity and muscle size. Sure, exercise can improve your physical health and your physique, trim your waistline, improve your sex life, and even add years to your life. But thats not what motivates most people to stay active.
People who exercise regularly tend to do so because it gives them an enormous sense of well-being. They feel more energetic throughout the day, sleep better at night, have sharper memories, and feel more relaxed and positive about themselves and their lives. And its also a powerful medicine for many common mental health challenges.
Regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on depression, anxiety, and ADHD. It also relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts your overall mood. And you dont have to be a fitness fanatic to reap the benefits. Research indicates that modest amounts of exercise can make a real difference. No matter your age or fitness level, you can learn to use exercise as a powerful tool to deal with mental health problems, improve your energy and outlook, and get more out of life.
Keep Your Internal Clock Set With A Consistent Sleep Schedule
Having a regular sleep schedule helps to ensure better quality and consistent sleep.
Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day sets the bodys “internal clock” to expect sleep at a certain time night after night. Try to stick as closely as possible to your routine on weekends to avoid a Monday morning sleep hangover. Waking up at the same time each day is the very best way to set your clock, and even if you did not sleep well the night before, the extra sleep drive will help you consolidate sleep the following night. Learn more about the importance of synchronizing the clock in The Drive to Sleep and Our Internal Clock.
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Can A Lack Of Exercise Induce Insomnia
Multiple studies have found that regular exercise correlates with better sleep. Across age groups, individuals who have a regular exercise routine are less likely to have insomnia and sleep issues. Further, those who are more physically active tend to be less likely to develop insomnia later in life, indicating that exercise also acts as a protective function against insomnia.
Conversely, a lack of exercise is associated with insomnia. Along with factors like poor health, stress, old age, and unemployment, lack of regular exercise is a predictor of insomnia. Problematically, when people are suffering from insomnia, it can be harder to be physically active due to higher levels of daytime fatigue and sleepiness.
How Exercise Can Help You Sleep Better
Most of us know exercise can improve muscle strength, heart health, and energy levels, but regular physical activity can also reduce insomnia and increase deep sleep. Research shows that just 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise, such as walking, swimming, or jogging, can help you fall asleep faster and experience more deep sleep.
Whats more, better sleep can be found after just one day of exercise and will continue to improve with long-term training. Below, we outline precisely how physical activity impacts that body and why it is conducive to a good nights sleep.
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How Exercise Affects Sleep
Exercise improves your health, your mood, and even your sleep. In fact, some researchers have gone so far as to name exercise as the daytime behavior most associated with better sleep. The relationship between exercise and sleep is a reciprocal one . Its easier to sleep when youve exercised, and its easier to work out after a good nights sleep.
Does Exercise Help With Deep Sleep
Studies have shown that regular, moderate aerobic exercise can decrease the time it takes to fall asleep. Working out has also been shown to boost your time in deep, or slow-wave, sleep. Increasingly, exercise is understood as a potentially effective treatment for sleep disorders including insomnia.
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When Should I Exercise
Exercise affects everyone differently, so it is important to listen to your body. Some may find that exercising too close to bedtime increases heart rate and causes the mind to become more activemaking it difficult to sleep. But others may find that working out in the evening promotes more relaxation. It depends on what works best for you.
In general, working out in the morning or afternoon tends to offer the most benefits in terms of sleep promotion. Since core body temperature rises during exercise, you are more likely to feel energized after working out. Therefore, the body needs time to cool off before trying to sleep.
Exercise Helps You Sleep Better
ByRemy Melina28 November 2011
People who regularly hit the gym sleep better and feel more alert during the day than those who are not as physically active, according to a new study.
The results showed that people who did 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week reported a 65-percent improvement in sleep quality.
“Physical activity may not just be good for the waistline and heart, but it also can help you sleep,” study researcher Brad Cardinal, professor of exercise science at Oregon State University, said in a statement.
Participants who worked out for at least 150 minutes also said that they felt less drowsy during the daytime, compared with those who were less physically active.
Better than meds
Cardinal and his colleagues studied a nationally representative sample of more than 2,600 men and women between the ages of 18 and 85.
They study adds to the evidence showing that “regular physical activity may serve as a non-pharmaceutical alternative to improve sleep,” Cardinal said.
The study showed that the risk of often feeling overly sleepy during the day dropped by 65 percent for the more active participants.
Too tired to workout?
The researchers also found that participants who met the physical activity guidelines were 68 percent less likely to experience leg cramps while sleeping, and 45 percent less likely to have difficulty concentrating when tired.
The study will be published in the December issue of the journal Mental Health and Physical Activity.
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The Positive Link Between Exercise And Mood
We don’t understand exactly why exercise is so good for improving mood conditions yet, but we do know that it works.
This may be due to a combination of reasons, including:
- Exercise helps chronic depression by increasing serotonin or brain-derived neurotrophic factor .
- Exercise reduces immune system chemicals that can make depression worse.
- Exercise increases your level of endorphins, which are natural mood lifters.
- Exercise helps by getting your sleep patterns back to normal. We know getting enough sleep can protect the brain from damage.
- Exercise gives you a focused activity that can help you feel a sense of accomplishment.
- Exercise limits the effect of stress on your brain.
Tip : Control Your Exposure To Light
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone controlled by light exposure that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. Your brain secretes more melatonin when its darkmaking you sleepyand less when its lightmaking you more alert. However, many aspects of modern life can alter your bodys production of melatonin and shift your circadian rhythm. Heres how to influence your exposure to light:
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