by Scott Johnson
The Utah Department of Health recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity to obtain health benefits and reduce the risk of adverse health outcomes. They continue that higher intensity, longer duration or greater frequency of exercise provides additional health benefits.
It has long been known that regular physical activity helps control weight, combats disease, boosts energy and improves mood. Now researchers at Oregon State University’s School of Biological and Population of Public Health and Human Sciences have demonstrated that 150 minutes of physical activity per week improves sleep quality.
This is great news for the estimated 50 to 70 million Americans that have a sleep or wakefulness disorder.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Insufficient sleep has been linked to high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, obesity, cancer, decreased productivity and medical and occupational errors.
The study, which will be published in the December 2011 edition of Mental Health and Physical Activity, evaluated the importance of physical activity as it relates to sleep in 3,081 men and women aged 18 to 85.
Remarkably, study participants who participated in 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each week reported a 65 percent improvement in sleep quality as opposed to their less active counterparts. Physically active participants also said they experienced less feelings of tiredness throughout the day.
Other outcomes observed by researchers included a 68 percent decrease in leg cramps while sleeping and a 45 percent decrease in difficulty concentrating when tired.
This study adds to the growing body of evidence that suggests regular physical activity improves more than just your waistline. Regular physical activity provides a variety of mental and physical health benefits, which can improve your overall well-being and enhance your life.
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