Exercise for Improved Sleep in Older Adults

Fitness Friday:  Exercise for improved sleep in older adults


There are so many reasons to exercise, well beyond weight loss or looking a certain way.  In fact, the CDC no longer recommends pushing physical activity for weight loss (https://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2017/17_0006.htm  ) – a confining concern when exercise can be about so much more.


Of note, exercise is critical for older adults. It can help with balance deficits/falls risk, cognition, socialization/sense of belonging, mental well-being, sarcopenia, osteoporosis, prevention of non communicable diseases.  Something we often forget about – exercise can improve sleep.  In particular, for older adults, exercising 3 times a week at a moderate intensity had sleep benefits (see https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7003368/ )


Why is this important?  Sleep is vital to our health, perhaps more critical than diet or exercise (from Why We Sleep). Sleep can improve immune function (even how well vaccines perform or “take”), balance and motor performance, cognition, cardiovascular health, among other benefits.  Yet, 1 in 2 older adults does not get the recommend 7 hours or more of quality sleep a night.


Adding regular exercise as well as improving sleep hygiene (behaviors and environmental set up around sleep) can assist individuals, young and older, in getting the sleep they need.  As a physical therapist that specializes in fitness and wellness, sleep hygiene is something I consider for all of my clients (it is pivotal to health, so I include it on my intake forms) and am comfortable helping clients address.  Interested in learning more or working with me, find more information on my website (www.ignitewell-being.com)


When was the last time you spoke with a trusted healthcare provider about sleep? Have you considered how exercise can improve your quality of sleep?


Wishing you all a fit and restful Friday



The above content is written by Dr. Allison Mitch, PT (DPT); copyright protected, please cite accordingly.  The picture is from Pexels of an older adult in a restful position.  To work with me or for more information, please email ignitewellbeing.naperville@gmail.com  Please consider supporting me and my work on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/ignitewellbeing


*Please note that none of the above information is specific medical advice, but if for educational purposes only.  If you have concerns about your health, please contact a trusted healthcare professional*