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What are the Best Ways to Get Relief from Back Pain

What are the Best Ways to Get Relief from Back Pain

First and foremost, at some point in their lives, close to 80 percent of Americans try to get relief from back pain of some kind. Next, adult women experience more back pain than adult men. Also, 33 percent of adults say back pain effects everyday activities, including sleep. Moreover, 90 percent of acute low back pain is resolved within six weeks.

Relief from Back Pain

Relief from Back Pain due to Spine Problems

Ankylosing Spondylitis

This type of arthritis typically starts by making your lower back and hips stiff and sore, especially in the morning. Over time, it spreads up your spine and to other joints and organs. Vertebrae and bones in the rib cage could fuse, leaving you hunched over. Young men get it more often than women and it may be hereditary. Early treatment with exercise and medication helps slow the progress.

Cauda Equina Syndrome

The nerves that branch out from your spine in the lower back help your brain control your legs and the organs in your pelvis. A herniated disk, fracture, or other condition could put pressure on this group of nerves, called the cauda equina. Surgery is needed right away to restore any loss of feeling, movement, or control of your bladder and bowels.

Cervical Spondylosis

As you get older, the following can happen to the spine in your neck: you could get a slipped disk; or the vertebrae may sprout extra bone, called spurs; or the ligaments that connect the vertebrae can get stiff and tight. Consequently, your neck may hurt or harder to move. Or you could have permanent damage if the disks or vertebrae squeeze nerves and nerve roots a lot.

Relief from Back Pain due to Kyphosis

In this condition the spine bends forward. It usually happens when the vertebrae crack or mash down. It’s most common in older women. It can cause pain and other problems, and, in severe cases, it bends your whole body out of shape. Treatment include painkillers, exercise, or surgery.

Osteoarthritis

Most noteworthy, each of the Spine’s vertebrae has slippery tissue at both ends that helps the back flex without friction. If this cartilage gets rough or wears down, the vertebrae start to rub against each other, and it makes your back painful or stiff. Known as Osteoarthritis, this problem occurs because of:

  1. 1
    Repeated overuse from performing a specific task or
  2. 2
    Playing a favorite sport or
  3. 3
    Exercising such as jogging or running for years or
  4. 4
    From carrying around excess body weight

Eventually the repeated impact, from these activities, thins or wears away the cartilage that cushions the ends of the vertebrae. As a result, the vertebrae rub together, causing a grating sensation. Joint flexibility is reduced, bony spurs develop, and the joint swells. Usually, the first symptom of osteoarthritis is pain that worsens following exercise or immobility. Regrettably, osteoarthritis tends to get worse over time. While it can’t be reversed, painkiller, therapy, and exercise can help ease the symptoms.

Osteoporosis

In the United States, more than 53 million people either already have osteoporosis or are at high risk due to low bone mass. In fact, osteoporosis, is a condition resulting from loss of bone tissue. As a result, bones become less dense and more likely to fracture. In addition, osteoporosis can result in a loss of height, severe back pain, and change in posture. Finally, osteoporosis, can impair a person’s ability to walk and can cause prolonged or permanent disability.

Most noteworthy, some of the risk factors for developing osteoporosis include:

  1. 1
    Thinness or small body frame
  2. 2
    Family history of the disease
  3. 3
    Being postmenopausal and particularly having had early menopause
  4. 4
    Abnormal absence of menstrual periods (amenorrhea)
  5. 5
    Prolonged use of certain medications, such as those used to treat lupus, asthma, thyroid deficiencies, and seizures
  6. 6
    Low calcium intake
  7. 7
    Lack of physical activity
  8. 8
    Smoking
  9. 9
    Excessive alcohol intake.

Incidentally, osteoporosis can progress undetected for many years without symptoms until a fracture occurs. Osteoporosis is diagnosed by a bone density scanner.

Relief from Back Pain due to Sciatica

The sciatica nerve causes pain to shoot down your lower back through into your leg. This happens because a herniated disk, bone spur, or some other spine problems puts pressure on the nerve. Hot packs, cold packs, stretching and painkillers can help.

Scoliosis

Scoliosis is a condition where your spine is out of shape. The most common type affects children during their growth spurt bending the spine sideways. The shoulders might be uneven or one shoulder blade might stick out more than the other. A brace may help as well as surgery.

Slipped or Herniated Disk

A cushion called a disk is located between each pair of vertebrae. As you get older, these disks start to dry out. Consequently, if you put too much stress on your back, the disk may tear or break. As a result of this herniated disk, the arms or legs might hurt or fell numb or tingly. Hopefully exercise or painkiller may help. If not, the only alternative is to have an operation.

Spinal Stenosis

The spine has a space in the middle for the spinal cord and nerves that branch out. When those space shrink, bones can press against the nerves. Any time these nerves are touched, you could feel pain, tingling, or numbness, or your muscles might seem weak.

About 90% of those with this condition develop it as part of the natural process of aging. As you age, your bones naturally go through a process of degeneration. This is called spondylosis. This process is worsened by osteoarthritis—arthritis of the bone that is felt in the joints. This leaves less space between your individual vertebrae which, along with loss of bone mass, can promote bone spurs. Your body’s facet joints begin to grow to account for the extra stress your back is put under by this process. That leaves even less space for the nerve roots that flow through your spinal cord and down your spine. In severe cases, a surgeon can make more room for the nerves.

Spondylolisthesis

Vertebrae may slide sideways, so that they don’t line up with the ones above or below them. This is a main cause of lower back pain. It happens as your body ages, but it can affect young people who do sports that stress the lower back like football, gymnastics, and weightlifting. Rest helps, but surgery might be needed.

Syringomyelia

Sometimes, a little fluid-filled sac called a cyst can form in the spinal cord. It could happen when brain tissue pushes down from your skull into your spinal cord or from an injury or tumor. Syringomyelia does cause problems. However, if the cyst keeps growing, in can injure your spinal cord, in which case surgery is needed.

Tumor

Cancer growing in the lungs, breasts, prostate, and bone more likely spreads to the spine. Consequently, your back hurts with the pain spreading throughout the body. Your arms or legs may become numb or weak. Part of you body could even be paralyzed. At this point, surgery, radiation, or chemo are the most likely way to get some relief.

Relief from Back Pain due to Behavioral Causes

Backpack

Backpacks are great for carrying load as you walk or hike. However, the wrong backpack or not wearing it correctly puts a strain on your shoulders, neck, and back, as well as tiring out muscles supporting your spine. Therefore, use the following guidelines to avoid or lessen these effects.

  1. 1
    Reduce the weight in the backpack. In fact, heavy load may cause spinal discs to compress
  2. 2
    Carry only what is essential
  3. 3
    Put the heaviest items close to your back and the lighter items on the outside away from your back
  4. 4
    Use a backpack with wide padded shoulder straps. The width and the padding helps distribute the load as well as providing a cushion.
  5. 5
    Because it helps distribute the load, always use both straps to carry the backpack
  6. 6
    Better still, get a backpack with a waist belt. These take some of the load off the shoulders. Consequently, neck pain and back pain above the waist is reduced.

Relief from Back Pain From Wrong Type of Bicycle

Hunching over to grab the handlebars of a bicycle, like a professional is bad for your back. Regrettably, you get back pain if you are too stretched out or cramped up on the bicycle. Therefore, before you buy a bike, get an expert to verify if the bicycle is right for you.

Exercise

First and foremost, regular exercise helps prevent or aggravate back pain. In fact, back pain is more common in those who are unfit or overweight. Also, those who only exercise intermittently have an increased risk of back injury. Most noteworthy, those with acute back injury can recover with a mild exercise program that gradually gets intense.

Meanwhile, don’t do too much of any exercise (including yoga) because overdoing exercise causes back pain. Finally, people who are too thin are also at risk for back pain, especially those with eating disorders and osteoporosis.

Food

Above all, eating unhealthy foods means your body doesn’t get enough nutrients to stay strong and this leads to inflammation. In fact, processed foods made with refined white flour and white sugar are top culprits in causing inflammation. Most noteworthy, these processed foods include packaged white breads and rolls, baked goods and candy. Also, soda and other sugar-sweetened drinks are in the same category.

Next, fried foods and fats -- such as margarine, shortening and lard -- also promote inflammation. So do processed red meats, like bacon, sausages, hot dogs, salami and other deli meats. Even lean red meat should be limited to once or twice a week.

Instead, replace these foods with those known to be anti-inflammatory, those high in natural antioxidants and other protective compounds.
Incidentally, these include good-for-you fats such as mono- and poly-unsaturated plant-based oils, most types of nuts and seeds, and fish with omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, tuna and sardines. Furthermore, other anti-inflammatory foods that should be on your menu are whole grains, green leafy vegetables and tomatoes. Citrus fruits, berries and cherries are also key for fighting inflammation. Next, the body needs lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, and healthy fats like those found in an avocado, to build strong bones, muscles and soft tissue in your back. Finally, eat foods containing nutrients like phosphorus, calcium and vitamin D.

Regrettably, overeating makes you add extra pounds, which put a strain on the bones and muscles in the back. Therefore, it’s best to eat slowly healthy foods with fewer calories.

Relief from Back Pain due to Jogging or Running

As you get older, its best to stop running or jogging. Above all, running or jogging jar your body and the vertebrae with each step. Regrettably, as you get holder, this jarring can lead to arthritis in the lumbar region of the spine. If you must, see your medical provider regularly to make sure the bones in your spine are not deteriorating. You don’t want to wait until it’s too late at which point you have no choice but to stop both running and jogging.

Lifting Weights

Next, lifting weights excessively can result in back pain. Most of all, it’s important to lift weights using correct form. So, if you are not sure what that form is, ask a trainer at the local gym or sports club to show you the correct technique.

Other

Back pain can also be caused by injuries, disk degeneration, and infections.

Sedentary

Next, being sedentary is another reason for back pain. Above all, your spine needs support from strong stomach and back muscles. And, lifting weights or climbing stairs can help. Also, low-impact exercises like walking, biking, or swimming can help by protecting the disks between the spine’s vertebrae.

Sitting for Long Periods of Time

Next, sitting for long periods of time stresses back muscles, neck, and spine. Also, your body doesn’t like sitting for long stretches. So, to relieve your body, it’s best to get up and move around for a few minutes every 30 minutes.

In addition, every hour, gently stretch and move your head and neck in all four directions. Also, once is a while try leaning back in the chair with your feet on the floor with a slight curve in the lower back. Finally, at every opportunity, stand for a few minutes.

Relief from Back Pain due to Sitting Position

One cause of back pain is from sitting hunched over a desk working on a computer. Another cause is from slouching in a chair.  Regrettably, if you hunch over or slouch often enough, over time, the spine’s natural curve is affected. In addition, the cushioning of the disks that lie between the spine’s vertebrae gets damaged. Consequently, arthritis starts to show up.

Moreover, sitting up too straight, in a chair, can also result in back pain. In fact, the best remedy for this is to sit straight in a chair that supports your back. Also, set the chair’s height so that your feet rest naturally on the floor.

Sit-ups

Sit-ups are hard on your back. They push your curved spine against the floor and work your hip flexors. Incidentally, hip flexors are muscles that run from the thighs to the lumbar vertebrae in the lower back. Moreover, when the hip flexors are too strong or too tight, they pull on the lower spine, which puts stress on the lower back.

Instead, do planks. They use a better balance of muscles on the front, sides, and back of the body than sit-ups which only targets a few muscles.

Sleeping Mattress

First and foremost, sleeping on a mattress that hasn’t been replaced in years can hurt your back. Indeed, the mattress needs to be firm enough to support your back, but soft enough to fit the shape of your body.

However, people differ in their response to mattress firmness. In fact, a study on mattress firmness was done in Spain. Some of the study participants slept on a medium-firm mattress. Indeed, a medium-firm mattress is one that is rated 5.6 on a 10 point hard-to-soft scale.  showed that those who slept on a medium-firm mattress (rated 5.6 on a 10 point hard-to-soft scale) had less back pain and disability than those who slept on a firm mattress (2.3 on the scale).

Therefore, at the next opportunity, try out a new mattress and find one that helps you the best.

Relief from Back Pain due to Sleeping Position

While sleeping on your back is fine for some people, for others this can cause low back pain or make the back pain that they already have even worse. If you are used to sleeping this way, one way to get relief is by putting a rolled towel or pillow under your knees. This will help keep the natural curve of you back.

On the other hand, sleeping on your belly is bad if you have a back problem. However, if you are used to sleeping on your belly, put your head on a very soft pillow or sleep without a pillow. This will help keep your neck and back in the best position.

Meanwhile, side sleeping is the best option for a back pain. In addition, putting a pillow between your legs takes the pressure off your hips and lower back.

Smoking

Smoking decreases blood flow to your spine. Consequently, the cushioning disks between your vertebrae break down quicker. Smoking can also weaken bones and give you osteoporosis. Even coughs from smoking can cause back pain. So, it’s best to stop smoking.

Remedies to Get Relief from Back Pain

  1. 1
    Bed rest helps with an acute back strain or injury. But don’t stay in bed too long. In fact, remaining immobile in bed can make the back pain worse.
  2. 2
    Other things that help back pain include spinal manipulation and massage from a chiropractor, acupuncture can relieve many types of backpain that do not respond to other treatments. Yoga, progressive relaxation, and cognitive behavioral therapy can also help.

The Many Ways Medical Peddler Helps People Get Better

The Many Ways Medical Peddler Helps People Get Better

Medical Peddler is used for physical therapy to help people get better. Moreover, described below, are examples of the ways a medical peddler is used.

Medical Peddlers

Medical Peddler to Help Knee Replacement Surgery Patients

The first four days, after a knee replacement surgery, are spent recovering from the surgery. However, from day 5 to week 4, the medical pedal exerciser may be used to strengthen the knee. Because pedaling backward is easier on the knee start your recovery by pedaling backwards. And, pedal forward only after a comfortable cycling motion is achieved by pedaling backwards.

In addition, as you become stronger (at about 4 to 6 weeks) slowly increase the tension on the medical peddler. Meanwhile, start using the medical peddler for 10 to 15 minutes twice a day. And gradually build up so that you are using the medical peddler for 20 to 30 minutes twice a day. Furthermore, use the medical peddler three or four times a week.

Medical Peddler to Help Those with Parkinson’s

Why the Disease Develops

First and foremost, neurons, in an area of the brain called substantia nigra are responsible for producing a neurotransmitter called dopamine. Regrettably, in some people, these neurons gradually die. As a result, dopamine levels fall. And, when dopamine levels fall, motor symptoms such as tremors and bradykinesia (or slow movement) start to appear.

Treatment

Above all, the current treatment for Parkinson’s disease is Levodopa. In fact, Levodopa increases dopamine levels in the brain. Regrettably, Levodopa can’t help the damaged neurons.

Exercise Increases Dopamine Levels

However, there is some evidence that exercise increases dopamine levels. In fact, Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans of 17 Parkinson’s patients showed that habitual exercisers had higher dopamine levels in the dorsal striatum. By the way, the dorsal striatum also receives dopamine from the substantia nigra. And higher levels of dopamine in the dorsal striatum helps control movement.

Exercise Improves Motor Symptoms

In addition, exercise also helped Parkinson’s patients perform better on functional tests assessing motor symptoms such as the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) part 3.

Exercise Increases BDNF

Moreover, exercise may be even better than levodopa. In fact, exercise also increases brain-derived-neurotrophic-factor (BDNF). And BDNF promotes survival of neurons that make dopamine, namely the neurons in the substantia nigra.

In fact, studies show that BDNF levels in Parkinson’s patients were lower than in healthy people. Furthermore, studies show that patients who exercised for 8 to 12 weeks increased serum levels of BDNF. In addition, another study showed that consistent aerobic exercise increased BDNF serum levels in healthy people. On the other hand, strength training had no effect on BDNF levels.

High-Intensity Exercises Help UPDRS Scores

Yet, another study showed that newly diagnosed patients who did high-intensity treadmill exercises for 30 minutes four times a week, maintained their UPDRS scores.

Motorized Pedals Helps Parkinson’s Patients

Meanwhile, a 2009 study at the Cleveland Clinic, showed that a motorized cycle improved aerobic capacity as well as UPDRS part 3 scores. Especially relevant, a motorized cycle was better than those who cycled using only their own strength. Indeed, the motorized cycle made the riders keep pedaling, while those who cycled on their own effort, tended to slack off, thereby not getting all the benefits they could.

Motorized Pedals Improves Thalamo-Cortical Connectivity

Also, another study showed that forced (as by a motor) pedaling rate improved thalamo-cortical connectivity. In fact, thalamo-cortical connectivity plays an important role in cognition. Consequently, improving the thalamo-cortical connectivity improves cognition. Meanwhile, the faster the pedaling rate the greater the improvements in thalamo-cortical connectivity.

Exercise Delays Parkinson’s Motor Symptoms

Most noteworthy, exercise may help delay worsening of Parkinson’s motor symptoms. In fact, a study, involving more than 12,000 Parkinson’s patients, reported that exercising 2.5 hours a week slows the decline of motor symptoms. In addition, other similar studies recommend advising newly diagnosed Parkinson’s patients about the benefits of regular exercising.

Medical Peddler to Help Those with Cystic Fibrosis

What is Cystic Fibrosis

First and foremost, cystic fibrosis is a chronic disease that results in progressive obstructive lung disease, chronic malnutrition due to pancreatic insufficiency and ultimately a shortened lifespan. Above all, cystic fibrosis is a hereditary disease that affects the lungs and digestive system. In fact, the body produces a thick and sticky mucus that can clog the lungs and obstruct the pancreas. Most noteworthy, advances in treatment means that people with cystic fibrosis often live into their 30s, 40s, and beyond.

Regrettably, currently there is no cure for cystic fibrosis. Furthermore, some 30,000 people in the United States have cystic fibrosis. In addition, 1,000 new cases of cystic fibrosis develop each year.

Why the Disease Develops

First and foremost, cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease. In fact, the defective gene responsible for cystic fibrosis leads to the creation of mucus that is thicker and stickier than usual. Moreover, the mucus is difficult to cough out of the lungs. Consequently, breathing is difficult and leads to severe lung infections. In addition, the mucus interferes with pancreatic functions by preventing enzymes from properly breaking down food. Consequently, digestive problems result, which can lead to malnutrition.

Treatment

There is currently no cure for cystic fibrosis. Meanwhile, treatment only manages the symptoms of the disease. On the other hand, researchers are looking into how physical exercise can help clear airways and improve overall lung function.

Exercise as a Treatment

Especially relevant, a study theorized that physical exercise may serve to increase sputum expectoration secondary to vibratory effects and increased levels of ventilation. In addition, the study theorized that exercise may lead to strengthening of ventilatory muscles as well as possibly altering conductance of sodium channels, leading to less sodium reabsorption and increased mucus hydration.

Also, the study measured nasal potential differences during exercise and showed that there did seem to be an alteration in sodium conductance during exercise and that this may be partly responsible for the benefits noted in cystic fibrosis patients who exercise.

Meanwhile, it has been found that exercise is associated with increased pulmonary function, fitness levels, everyday functioning and survival rates. And, there were both short term as well as long term benefits from an exercise program.

Aerobic Workouts Using a Medical Peddler

Patients who participated in an intensive aerobic workout using pedal exercisers or exercise cycles or a strength training session had a short-term increase in their Forced Expired Volume in one second (FEV1).  In addition, patients who participated in exercise on a regular basis, not only had this short-term effect, but also had a long term benefit of decreased rate of decline in their Forced Vital Capacity (FVC).

Indeed, regular exercise, using pedal exercisers or exercise cycles, leads to increased aerobic capacity, activity levels, quality of life, weight gain, lung function, leg strength and a decrease in decline in lung function.  Therefore, exercise likely led to increased airway clearance and possible improved ion channel function as well.  In fact, the outcome of this study showed that if activity levels increased over time, the patient’s rate of decline in their FEV1 decreased.

Effectiveness of Aerobics on Survival Rates

Finally, a study followed cystic fibrosis patients over an 8-year period. Most of all, the study looked at their survival rates in relationship to their aerobic fitness, age, gender, BMI, FEV1, end tidal CO2. Also, the study measured their fitness in terms of oxygen consumption at peak exercise intensity (VO2 peak). And, the study found that:

  1. 1
    Those with the highest level of fitness (VO2 peak > 82%), had increased rates of survival, even when taking into consideration their other risk factors, and
  2. 2
    Those with the lowest level of fitness (VO2 peak < 58%), were 3 times more likely to die during the 8 years as those with the highest level of fitness.

The Power of Being Fit and Healthy

The Power of Being Fit and Healthy

People, in general, tend to take health and fitness for granted. In fact, it’s only when something isn’t right that they try to do something about it. For example, if you are naturally gifted and healthy, it’s unlikely you’ll think too much on what you eat or how much physical activity you are getting. On the other hand, if you are underweight, overweight, or have some other malady, you’ll get more focused on your diet and exercise. However, almost everyone needs to pay attention to their health and fitness.

fit and healthy

Benefits of Fitness and Health

Most noteworthy, chances of living a long life are best for fit and healthy individuals  In fact, staying fit reduces your risk of suffering from heart diseases, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and may types of cancer.
In addition, staying in good shape gives you more energy to perform everyday tasks at home or at work. Furthermore, staying fit as you age reduces your risk of falling.

Also, according to the Centers for Disease Control, staying active and fit reduces your risk of depression and helps you maintain a healthy brain.

Next, a fit and healthy person will spend less money on health care than one who is not. And, these savings continue to increase as you get older. In fact, a study at University of Texas looked at 20,000 middle-aged men and women. And the study found that the healthiest participants had 38 percent lower health care costs later in life than participants who were not fit and healthy.

In addition, another study published in the Public Library of Science Medicine had 20,000 participants. And this study reported that participants who exercised regularly, drank alcohol only in moderation, consumed a nutritious diet and avoided smoking had a 14 year longer life expectancy.

Finally, a healthy diet and regular exercise helps reduce free radicals as well as inhibit the release of toxins associated with disease and infections.

Components of Fitness and Health

The four major components of fitness and health are:

  • Diet and food
  • Sleep
  • Stress
  • Exercise

Diet and Food

First and foremost, food and diet plays the most significant role in keeping you fit and healthy. A diet that is well balanced provides the energy you need to keep active all day long. And staying active helps you maintain a healthy weight. In addition, your body gets nutrients needed for growth and repair, which helps prevents diet-related illness.

For example, a balanced diet low in saturated fat and high in fiber found in whole grains, helps to reduce risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Meanwhile, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy helps reduce risk of heart disease by maintaining low blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Finally, a diet rich in calcium keeps your teeth and bones strong while helping to slow down bone loss as you get older.

Sleep

Sleep is an important component necessary for your health and fitness, overall health, and mental well-being. Well published guidelines recommend that to obtain the most benefits, eight hours of good sleep is needed every day. On the other hand, lack of sleep has many bad consequences on your health and well-being. For example, insufficient sleep has been proven to lower the efficiency of your immune system. In addition, lack of sleep has also been implicated in contributing to heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Finally, as another example, recent studies suggest that not getting enough sleep prevents people from losing weight.

Stress

Stress is also an important component of your health and fitness, overall health, and mental well-being. In fact, stress affects you in many ways. Some of them include, anxiety, overeating, under eating, fatigue, sleep problems, lack of motivation, restlessness, social withdrawal to name just a few. Fortunately, there are many techniques, such as physical activity or meditation, to help you reduce stress.

Exercise

Physical activities, such as regular exercise, helps you become and stay fit and healthy in some of the following ways.

  1. 1
    First, regular exercise helps you live longer.
  2. 2
    Next, exercise reduces the likelihood of chronic diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke, metabolic syndrome, abnormal blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, colon cancer and breast cancer.
  3. 3
    Also, regular physical activity improves muscle strength and boosts your endurance, thereby making you fit and healthy.
  4. 4
    Next, exercise increases bone density
  5. 5
    Moreover, exercise helps burn calories. Also, in combination with a good diet, exercise helps control your weight and makes you look good.
  6. 6
    Next, physical activity helps reduce stress, anxiety, and depression while improving your mood. Consequently, you feel happier, more relaxed and less anxious. You also feel better about your appearance and yourself. Which, in turn, boosts your confidence and self-esteem.
  7. 7
    Also, exercise gives you a chance to engage in activities, such as dance classes, that make you happy and gives you opportunities to socialize.
  8. 8
    Exercise helps you sleep better.
  9. 9
    In addition, moderate exercise increases production of natural antioxidants, which help protect your skin and delay signs of aging.
  10. 10
    Furthermore, exercising helps brain health and memory. In fact, exercise stimulates production of hormones that enhance growth of brain cells.
  11. 11
    And, exercise enables you to present yourself as empowered and confident, just as you would feel after completing a long run or after lifting your personal best in the gym.
  12. 12
    Lastly, exercise boost your sex drive.

What’s the Best Time for an Evening Workout

What's the Best Time for an Evening Workout

People have their own favorite time to exercise. The morning people prefer to work out in the morning. While others prefer to exercise around the lunch hours. And some prefer to exercise sometimes in the afternoon. Finally, some prefer the evening workout.

Evening Workout

Evening Workouts

But are there any downsides to working out in the evening hours.  Some downsides include the evening workout interfering with social activities. While other downsides include the possibility that an evening workout may interfere with your ability to sleep.

Working Out in the Evening

A recommendation, that’s been around for a while, is to avoid strenuous workouts before bed. Seems like there are several reasons for this recommendation, including that the workout before bed:

  • Increases the heart rate
  • Causes your body to release stimulating epinephrine, also known as, adrenaline
  • Causes core body temperature to rise during the workout and it stays high for four to five hours. Moreover, the high temperature may interfere with your need to fall asleep. In fact, the normal pattern is for your body temperature to go down as you approach bed time.List Element

However, people are not all affected the same way. For example, some couldn’t care less if they just came out of a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout. They may fall asleep as soon as they lay on the mattress.

Indeed, most people are able to fall asleep even after they exercise before bed. Especially relevant, a 2011 study reported that those who did 35 minutes of exercise before bed slept just as well as on those nights when they didn’t exercise.

2013 Survey of Evening Workout Effects on Sleep

In the meantime, the National Sleep Foundation in 2013 conducted a poll of about 1,000 people. And, the poll found that 83 percent of the people who exercised (at any time of the day, including evenings) slept better than those who didn’t exercise at all. In fact, only 3 percent of the late day exercisers said they slept worse on days when they exercised compared to days when they didn’t.

2013 Japanese Research on Effects of Evening Workout

A 2013 Hokusho University in Japan study reported that vigorous exercise within one hour of bedtime resulted in participants taking an average 14 minutes longer to fall asleep. Especially relevant, the participants in the study were 12 healthy males. The study pointed out that vigorous exercise created a large physiologic excitement, likely due to release of adrenaline, delaying the start of sleep.

2019 Meta-Analysis of Evening Workout Effects on Sleep

Next, the journal Sports Medicine reported, in February 2019, about a meta-analysis by researchers at ETH Zurich. In fact, the meta-analysis discovered that compared to people who didn’t exercise at all, people who exercised within four hours of going to bed showed no difference in the:

  • Time it took to fall asleep
  • Time spent awake during the night after falling asleep
  • Quality of their sleep

On the other hand, researchers found that exercise could actually improve sleep by increasing the percentage of time spent in slow-wave sleep, or deep sleep. In fact, study participants, who did some type of workout within four hours of bed, spent an average of 21.2 percent of the night in deep sleep. While those who didn’t exercise only spent an average of 19.9 percent of the night in deep sleep.

Especially relevant, the only exception to the above results were those doing HIIT. Seems like, vigorous exercise like HIIT, one hour before going to sleep can mess up sleep. And, this is because your heart rate goes very high during HIIT. Moreover, one hour just isn’t enough time for your heart rate to come back near its resting rate. Consequently, your body isn’t as relaxed and ready to fall and stay asleep.

Therefore, it’s necessary to limit the evening workouts to low or moderate intensity. In fact, researchers think that moderate intensity workouts, causes the parasympathetic nervous system to kick in. And, when that happens, your heart rate slows down which in turn, helps you relax.

Because people are different, each person has to try out the intensity of the workout before bed that will allow them to fall asleep after the workout.

2019 Observational Study of Evening Workout Effects on Sleep

A 2019 Australian study reported that 30 minutes of HIIT bike training had no effect on sleep. In addition, the HIIT session didn’t result in hunger pangs.

Above all, the study was based on only 11 middle-age men. Moreover, the study looked at how the men slept when they exercised in the morning (6 to 7 AM), afternoon (2 to 4 PM) and evening (7 to 9 PM).

Meanwhile, the study found sleep time was shortest when the men exercised in the morning. Next, the sleep time was the longest when the men exercised in the afternoon. Finally, the sleep time was somewhere in the middle when the men exercised in the evening.

In addition, there was only a one or two minute difference in the time to fall asleep between the morning, afternoon, and evening exercise sessions.

Next, researchers found reduced levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin when the men exercised in the evening.

Finally, the study reported that the men had more energy when they exercised in the afternoon or evening than when they exercised in the morning.

Weight Training as an Evening Workout

Research on hormones cortisol and testosterone indicates that weight training in the evening is best for building muscles. In fact, cortisol helps regulate blood sugar my breaking down muscle tissue (called catabolism) as needed. While testosterone, with the help of proteins, build muscles (called anabolism).

Cortisol levels are highest when you first get up in the morning and lowest in the evening. Similarly, testosterone levels are also highest in the morning and lowest in the evening. However, the ratio of testosterone to cortisol is highest in the evening. While both cortisol and testosterone levels dropped during the day, cortisol levels dropped more than testosterone levels. As a result, the evening provides a more anabolic, muscle-building environment for weight training. In fact, according to Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, anaerobic capacity is 7 percent higher in the evening when compared to morning. For this reason, early evening gym sessions are preferred by weight trainers.

Furthermore, temperature peaks in late afternoon. And research shows that muscle strength also peaks in the afternoon almost in sync with temperature. Moreover a 2005 study found that optimum performance is towards the end of the afternoon and early evening when the body temperature is also at its peak. In fact, a study found that those who weight trained after 6 PM in the evening gained 3 percent muscles while losing 4 percent body fat.

Finally, it is recommended that a carbs and protein post-workout meal be eaten within 45 minutes after the end of the weight training workout. Indeed a delay of carb consumption by as much as two hours may result in 50 percent lower rates of glycogen synthesis. On the other hand, you could eat the meal before the weight training session.

Conclusion

In conclusion, vigorous exercise such as HIIT workouts pumps out adrenaline, just before bedtime, which may delay start of sleep. However, light or moderate intensity workout before bed likely will have minimal, if any, impact on your sleep. However, because of individual differences, the best way to determine if a workout before sleep works for you, is to experiment.

Meanwhile, if you are under stress before bedtime, a vigorous workout before bed is the best thing to release all that stress, clear the mind and help you sleep.