For many people, sleeping is a challenge, but often rest comes much easier after a little exercise. It’s a proven fact, but you don’t have to run 5 miles or swim for 30 minutes in the pool. You can get a better night’s rest with as little as 10 minutes of moderate exercise a day.
Exercise that is done early in the morning or later in the day helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle. The exercise raises the body temperature slightly, thus improving the body’s sleep-wake cycle. Here are 5 exercises that can help you improve your ability to sleep.
Stretching and Yoga
You might not think of yoga as being much of a workout, but you can burn between 150 and 200 calories from a vigorous 30-minute yoga workout. Each move increases your body temperature and helps regulate the sleep cycle. As well, yoga workouts often end with gentle breathing, which helps the body relax.
Several good yoga poses to increase the heart rate and burn calories are a plank, chair, and high lunge. To relax, you might try chest-to-knees, cobbler’s pose, spinal twist or corpse pose, which usually ends a yoga session. This workout will clear your mind and allow you to sleep more easily.
While it might be common sense, many people forget about walking. Walking can be done in a park or your neighborhood. As well, the treadmill in a gym is the perfect place to walk. You choose how brisk of a walk you want. You can take a nice casual walk around the block or do a strenuous walk through the park. As an added benefit, you can grab some small hand weights and swing your arms.
Besides the physical workout, a good walk is relaxing, especially one that is done outside. You feel the warm breeze on your face and get to experience the outdoors. A good walk releases endorphins; powerful brain chemicals that help you sleep.
You don’t have to be a massive bodybuilder to get the benefits of weights. A five- or ten-pound weight provides a great workout. And it’s proven that cardiovascular exercise works best when it’s combined with a little weight training.
Strength training builds muscle, and that requires energy, which helps you relax and sleep, According to a 2012 study, men who participated in resistance training were less likely to wake up during the night than those who did no weight training.
To begin a strength-training program, you will need to purchase a couple of dumbbells. The weight will depend on how strong you are and the amount of resistance you want to achieve. Some good exercises are squats, overhead press, and single-leg dumbbell row.
We all need to channel our inner child sometime, and a hula-hoop workout is a perfect answer. You burn calories by working the cardiovascular system and strengthen the core area of the body. Heck, even Michelle Obama and several Hollywood stars have been known to pick up the hula-hoop for exercise.
You have to purchase a hula-hoop and pull that old one out of the storage area. Make sure it’s an adult hula-hoop. You can’t use the kids. Next, make sure you have enough room for the hula-hoop, like a family room or the garage. To begin, practice just getting the hula-hoop to stay on your waste and spin. After 10 minutes, you will feel your pulse increase and your breathing might be a little more labored. Once you become proficient at the basics, trying more advanced moves like spinning the hula-hoop above your head or walking while the hoop spins. In no time, you will be a pro at the hula-hoop and sleep better each night.
Meditation is the simplest way to exercise and relax the brain, especially when done a few minutes before bed. AMA Internal Medicine recently published an article on mindful meditation and other exercises as a way to sleep better. The study found that meditation drastically increased one’s ability to sleep.
Meditation is not difficult. It just requires a quiet space and mindful breathing. Each breath will take tension and stress away from the body. It should be done slowly and deliberately and in a repetitive fashion. In no time, you will be sleeping better.
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