Yoga, walking, cardio training | All types of physical activity improve sleep
It doesn't really matter if you do yoga, tai-chi, walking, cardio or strength training, if you start exercising you will sleep better. Brazilian researchers aggregated the results of 12 clinical trials in a meta-study.
Brazilian researchers, affiliated with the Federal University of Pernambuco, traced 12 previously published clinical trials in which people over 60 had started exercising and in which the effect on the quality of sleep was subsequently measured.
The shortest trial lasted only 6 weeks, the longest a year. The forms of movement studied ranged from yoga, tai-chi, cardio training, walking and strength training. The makers of the trials had determined the quality of sleep using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI).
More details about the studies used can be found in the table above. Click on it for a larger version.
Exercise improved sleep.
Some studies involved people over sixty who slept poorly, others studies on people over sixty with a good night's sleep. In both groups, exercise improved sleep.
Click on the figure below for a larger version.
However, the Brazilians emphasize that the methodology of the trials was not always perfect. Their analyses also showed that studies with less favorable outcomes have probably not been published, and are somewhere in an office of a research department catching dust.
"The results suggest that physical exercise improves sleep quality in both patients with previous complaints of insomnia and patients without previous complaints and has few adverse effects, making it a valuable adjuvant approach in the treatment of elderly patients with complaints of insomnia that may even reduce the number of medications used to sleep", summarize the Brazilians.
J Ageing Longev. 2022;2(2):85-97.
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