How better Sleep boosts Exercise and Physical Fitness – Part I

Home » How better Sleep boosts Exercise and Physical Fitness – Part I

The four pillars of health, namely nutrition, exercise, sleep and emotional balance, influence one another in complex and innumerable ways. Each pillar can be given priority depending on other prevailing health factors like age, occupation, illness, pregnancy, etc.

My focus in this article, is not on each of these pillars’ level of priority, but on the relationship between two particular health pillars of interest: exercise and sleep. This interest was aroused in me during an encounter I had with an exercising couple during one of my routine walking exercise. For physical fitness and mental well-being I adopt a hybrid of safe indoor and outdoor exercises. One of the exercises that is my favourite, as it is assessed to be easy-to-do, very safe and highly impactful, is brisk walking. When one does such a simple and common exercise as brisk walking for at least 30mins daily, the person will achieve all the set targets and health benefits expected from safe exercises. According to WHO Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health (2010 & 2022), adults aged 18–64 years:

  • Should do at least 30 – 60 mins of moderate-intensity aerobic exercises like brisk walking, swimming, and dancing for at least 5 times a week; 
  • Should also do muscle-strengthening exercises such as push-ups, abdominal crunches, planking, etc. on 2 or more days a week.

Now, the encounter I had on my walk was with a health-conscious pair. Let me bring you up to speed with what transpired during this chanceful meeting. It was on one fateful day, in the cool wee hours of the morning. Arising from a night of sound shut-eye, I bounced out for a road walk, bumped into and joined a walking pair of a fit-looking lady and a pot-bellied man along the road, both sweating profusely from a lengthy exercise. The lady did not allow me and the man to conclude the usual drawn-out pleasantries as exists among men, before bombarding me with a long, captivating mix of hurried greeting, incidental findings and enthusiastic queries. She narrated how they observed with admiration that I was consistent with my walking exercises despite my tight schedule as a doctor. The accompanying man gave supportive expressions in-between to show his agreement. She went further to volunteer how she was battling with time-deficiency to keep up with daily exercises. The walk-talk revealed that she was an 8 to 5 working class living some miles away from her workplace. On a regular workday, her entire daytime is practically spent along the road to and from the workplace and at work, leaving her with few hours for other activities, surely not enough for the recommended daily 7 – 9 hours of sleep. Out of her love for health through exercises, from an obviously limited sleep schedule, she sacrificed further the sleep time to intentionally carve out time for daily exercises.

I quickly picked from her lines of reasoning that she was unaware that sleep is crucial for fitness success. By this time, I had realized that I was co-exercising with husband and wife. I began to share the sleep news. It has been shown that sleep has much influence on our mental and physical wellbeing which is beneficial before, during and after exercises. I made a lump-sum statement which the couple repeated after me, though in parts, probably for better digestion: “Good sleep plays roles in the motivation and mood required to kick-start exercise; attitude, endurance and stamina needed to sustain the exercise; and the body repairs, recovery and growth after exercises.” Right there, I was employed to flow with the lesson on the effects of sleep on exercise by the next chorused comment, “Please, tell us more about these roles of sleep in exercise.”

Seeing that we were almost at the end of the unplanned joint exercise session, and I would not be able to rush over the requested explanation, we adjourned the information sharing conversation to next exercise session when both parties will be out at same time for maximal discussion time during a planned joint exercise. Similarly, in my next article, I will share the detail of our adjourned discussion on how better sleep boosts exercise and fitness success.

Let us remember that when you sleep, where you sleep and how you sleep affect your mental health, physical well-being and living a healthy life. We all need quality sleep to be set for productivity in our endeavours.

Do you need further information on the above subject? Are you looking for ways to maintain quality sleep for general well-being and healthy living? Remember, a doctor is an appropriate person to offer relevant advice for the maintenance of quality sleep and solution to sleep difficulties. Do you want to contact the Orthopaedic Sleep Consultant, Dr Charles Uzodimma, kindly send your request to OR Whatsapp 08129982143.

Vitafoam Nigeria Plc is the first foam manufacturing company in Nigeria to partner with a sleep expert to educate Nigerians on quality sleep for healthy living. The proudly Nigerian company is truly passionate about sleep and general well-being, and continues to consistently provide Nigerians with quality products that offer great comfort. To learn more about Vitafoam, please visit

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