For so many years, women ran to the treadmills, thinking it was the best way to get fit, lean up, and stay healthy for life, and sure there is some logic to that theory. We all need some regular cardio in our lives, however, if that’s more or less a total exercise for better sleep regime then read on …. you may find yourself reviewing the plan.
Spending all your time focusing on one type of exercise for better sleep not only leads to boredom. But can also leave us exhausted with less energy to enjoy the great things life has to offer. Resistant exercise (weight training) may be a superior alternative to aerobic exercise when it comes to getting a better night’s sleep.
Sleep is Essential For Cardiovascular Health
It has been increasingly recognized that getting enough sleep, particularly the type of higher quality sleep, is very important for health, especially from a cardiovascular sense. “More than one-third of Americans don’t get enough sleep regularly.” So says Angelique Brellenthine, PhD, & assistant professor of kinesiology at Lowa State University.
Research has confirmed time and time again that not getting at least seven to eight hours of sleep per night or having a poorer quality of sleep increases high blood pressure and elevates cholesterol and atherosclerosis. Lack of sleep is also linked to weight gain, diabetes, and inflammation. All of these factors worsen cardiovascular disease. Sleeping more than the recommended amount and less than required is linked to an increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and even death.
Researchers enrolled 386 adults who were obese and overweight. These participants were inactive and had elevated blood pressure. The participants were assigned to a non-exercise group or one of three exercise groups (aerobic only, resistance only, or combined aerobic and resistance) for 12 months.
All participants participated in supervised 60-minute sessions three times per week, and the combined group exercised for 30 minutes of aerobic and another 30 minutes of resistance training. Participants did a variety of exercises & assessments measuring sleep quality.
The findings included and measured sleep duration, efficiency, how long it took to fall asleep, and any disturbances during the night. These ratings went from 0 for the best quality sleep and 21 for the worst possible.
Here Are Some Of The Results
- At the beginning of the study, 35% noticed a poorer quality of sleep.
- Sleep increased an average of 40 minutes within the 12 months for those in the resistant training group
- Sleep increased by about 23 minutes for the aerobics-only group
- Sleep increased by about 15 minutes in the combined cardio and weights group
- The time it took to fall asleep decreased by 3 minutes for the resistance exercise group and no change in the other two groups
- Sleep quality improved in all the groups, including the group that didn’t exercise
Key Points to Take Away
Based on this study, we can see that resistance training is a great way to improve sleep and cardiovascular health.
These factors are critical for better sleep quality and reflect how a person falls and stays asleep during the night.
If you are new to weight training, then you should seek some guidance from a trained professional to show you the right way to perform exercises for better sleep. And use the equipment to ensure your training is safe.
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Kumud Gandhi is a Nutritional Food Scientist bestselling Author, Broadcaster, and Keynote Speaker on the subject of nutritional health for productivity & performance in the workplace. In 2010 Kumud founded ‘The Cooking Academy’ a cookery school that focusses on cooking for nutritional health and wellbeing. Kumud regularly presents to international audiences on a variety of topics such as ‘Eating for Immunity and a Lifetime of Wellness’. She is an expert in the field of Wellness in the Workplace and works with organizations to create transformational change in employee health & well-being through nutrition and health coaching.