Several recent studies have highlighted the benefits of both regular physical activity and following a consistent sleep routine. Now, a new study explored the benefits associated with consumers going beyond basic exercise recommendations.
“Physical activity levels at or above the World Health Organization’s guideline (600 metabolic equivalent task minutes/week) threshold eliminated most of the deleterious associations of poor sleep with mortality,” the researchers wrote.
Maximizing the benefits of long-term exercise
For the study, the researchers analyzed data from more than 380,000 adults enrolled in the U.K. Biobank. The team tracked the participants’ sleep patterns and physical activity over the course of 11 years to see how they impacted overall health and well-being.
Ultimately, the researchers learned that participants who had the poorest sleep habits were also at the highest risk of death from any cause. However, exercising regularly helped reduce that risk of mortality. The study showed that engaging in at least 150 minutes of moderately intense activity per week can counteract the negative health risks linked with poor sleep habits.
Though the findings point towards encouraging consumers to exercise more, the researchers also found some characteristics that may help improve sleep patterns. Participants who only drank alcohol in moderation, avoided cigarettes, and followed healthier diets had the best sleep habits.