While living a sedentary lifestyle, our body demands more physical activity in the form of workouts and exercises in order to keep energy and immunity levels up. All of us want to look fit and healthy and we all believe that indulging in regular exercise can help in achieving our fitness goals. Medical studies have in fact, revealed that at least 20 minutes of exercise for five days a week can significantly improve our health and will also increase our life span.
Experts have even stated that regular physical activity can even regulate our sleep patterns and therefore, people suffering from sleep disorders are often recommended to get hooked to workouts. But some people perform intense workouts in a bid to flaunt a great physique and look extravagantly slim and presentable. In this process, they are actually causing strain to their body. Anything in excess is harmful and exercise too, can have deteriorating effects on your health if it is intense and stressful. As per a recent study, intense bouts of exercise can distort your sleep patterns and when exercise is performed vigorously on regular basis, then it can cause drastic and progressive decline in the quality of sleep too.
If you continually perform heavy training, then your mind and body cannot bear the load of the strain and you may face mood swings, insomnia and even your mental and physical performance may suffer a critical setback. In order to study on this matter, scientists from Lough Borough University in England arranged 13 expert cyclists as volunteers and studied the effects of intensive training on them for two nine-day period. Every cyclist’s sleep pattern, mood and performance was being analysed before, during and after the stipulated period.
After analysing the data, the scientists found that within nine days of heavy workout, there was a significant decline in the quality of sleep of the volunteers. Besides distortion in sleep patterns, as the study was continued for next nine days, the volunteers suffered from serious mood swings and they felt more anger, depression, fatigue, tension, etc.
Why to blame adrenaline and cortisol for being an insomniac?
As per medical experts, strenuous workouts performed by an individual not habituated to take the increased strain can trigger stress responsive systems, which releases cortisol or stress hormone in the evening and even excessive adrenaline. Both of these hormones when secreted in excess can make you insomniac.
In response to exercise, our body releases adrenaline and a similar hormone called norepinephrine, both of which increases rate of heart beat, muscle strength, flow of blood to muscles, sugar metabolism while keeping your mind alert for longer duration. With surge in intensity of exercises, the amount of production of these hormones too rises, keeping you alert for a long time, specifically in the evening, causing disruption in sleep patterns.
Another hormone that can rob off your sleep is cortisol. Heavy endurance exercises cause secretion of cortisol hormone, which increases glucose concentration in the blood, giving your muscles the strength and activeness to keep going. This is why intense workouts can make your mind remain active for longer, while postponing the production of sleep hormones.
So training your body beyond endurance level can actually have retrogressive effects on your health. Though externally, you may find the results generated from intense workouts satisfactory, but you may never know that this excessive straining is harming your hormonal activity while making you an insomniac. This is why it is always advised to undergo intense training under supervision of professional trainers so that they can guide you about how much heavy workout is sustainable for your body.
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Most of us perceive that working out is great for enjoying sound sleep and ‘the more the better’ is the motto that we adopt. Moderation in everything gives great results and listening to your body while working out will surely help you understand your body better. Working out should be a stress-busting activity and not a painful one.