Exercise and Sleep – Getting Enough?
Here is another topic I probably should not have to sell you on. This is because it should go without saying that our bodies were not meant to remain sedentary for too long. A growing body of research shows that long periods of physical inactivity raise your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity. And actually, these just get the ball rolling regarding what inactivity can do, but it can also affect sleep.
Consider the life of your ancestors for a moment. They were constantly moving or constantly working. They would walk great distances searching for herds of animals they aimed to hunt. They would run and hike while on the hunt. They would build their shelters. They would haul their water. They would physically wage their wars.
Today, most people sit for hours, only walking from chair to chair. They go to work and sit in their chair. They leave work and go to their car (which has a chair), to their front rooms (to a chair), to the dinner table (to a chair), and then to the bed. This is not an ideal way to live.
Now add in all the things people have been programmed to believe regarding their health, including food, water, etc. Hopefully, by now, you are starting to see a compounding problem in our nation today. So let us discuss some of the benefits of exercise, just in case everyone is not abundantly clear on this.
Exercise does quite a bit for the body and mind. It controls weight because it burns calories. Exercise boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good” cholesterol, and decreases unhealthy triglycerides. It also helps fight cardiovascular diseases and improves mood by stimulating brain chemicals. Again, things you probably learned in high school.
As mentioned earlier, it can increase oxygen intake, giving you more energy. If you have more energy, it could improve your sex life as well. For example, physical activity often leads to enhanced arousal for women and decreased erectile dysfunction for men. On the other side of that same coin, it can even help you sleep better.
Did you know that sleep is important? That is when your body does most of its repairs. We all know that, but many do not really embrace it. Some do not know that a lack of sleep can lead to disease.
For instance, we have known for some time now that sleep deprivation can lead to obesity, among a host of other ills. As addressed several times thus far, obesity itself leads to horrible addictive cycles that negatively impact our health. But a recent study in the journal SLEEP suggested that not sleeping can also give you a ferocious case of the munchies (Hanlon et al., 2016). Guess where that leads.
Logically speaking, if you were tired and hungry, what types of food would you reach for? Convenience foods, right? Of course, we already know where that leads.
As mentioned before, it can lead to metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, certain types of cancer, or even arthritis. The good news is that exercise can also help there (MayoClinic, 2016). That point is to do anything: walk, run, lift, bike, or row.
Do anything that gets you moving, and do it often. It does not matter if you follow a program or walk around the block. ANYTHING is better than NOTHING. Get active, then get yourself some sound sleep. Remember that the more you do of both, the more you get in life.
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This article was originally published as a chapter in the book Natural Health Made Easy: The Briobiotic Protocol (2016)
This article was written from a Health Science perspective. Dr. Robertson is a health researcher and educator, not a physician. The information provided here is not medical advice, a professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment, or service to you or any other individual. The information provided is for educational and anecdotal purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or professional care. You should not use the information in place of a visit, call consultation, or the advice of your physician or other healthcare providers. Dr. Robertson is not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis, or additional information, services, or product you obtain or utilize. IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY, YOU SHOULD IMMEDIATELY CALL 911 OR YOUR PHYSICIAN.