I knew it all along!
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. Sure, there is some logic to that theory. We all need regular cardio in our lives — but more people tend to take it too far. Spending all your time focusing on one type of exercise leads to boredom and can 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 getting a better night’s sleep. Sleep is essential for cardiovascular health. It has been increasingly recognised 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, & an 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 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 not enough 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. This group was assigned to a non-exercise group, 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 as the worst possible.
Here are some of the results
- During the beginning of the study, 35 per cent 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 take away
Based on this study, we can see that resistance training is a great way to improve sleep and cardiovascular health. While both means of exercise (aerobic and resistance training) are great for getting more sleep into your life, resistance exercise has significantly improved sleep disturbances and efficiency. 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, may I suggest getting help from a trained professional? They will show you the right way to perform exercises, and so you may eventually venture towards weight training safely, on your own. I, too, invested in a personal trainer, and it was the best thing I ever did. Fast-tracking your way to any success through a person that knows their craft will help you in more ways than you realise. The cost may weigh a little bit on the finances but think of your health and longevity gains. You can’t put a price on your health, and why not start now before a significant problem lurks in the dark. Please feel free to read the in-depth study in this publication here.
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