Boost Weight Loss and Improve Sleep with this Before-Bed Workout Routine

Boost Weight Loss and Improve Sleep with this Before-Bed Workout Routine

What”;s the best time to exercise? When you can fit it in–;even if that”;s right before bed. You may have heard that exercising at night can make it harder to fall asleep, but that claim doesn”;t add up: According to the National Sleep Foundation, a study of 1,000 people found that there were no significant differences in sleep quality between people who exercised within four hours of going to sleep versus those who had worked out earlier in the day.

No matter what time of day you exercise, you”;ll likely sleep better: In the National Sleep Foundation study, 83 percent of “;vigorous exercisers”; got “;very good”; or “;fairly good”; quality of sleep, compared to just 56 percent of non-exercisers. And working out before bed could actually improve your sleep quality further: In a review of 23 different studies, published in Sports Medicine, people who exercised within four hours of bedtime had more hours of deep sleep than those who didn”;t do those workouts, says RunnersWorld.com.

Getting quality sleep is a big deal to your risk of early death, risk of disease and also your weight loss efforts. When you sleep less, you eat more…; and not quality, nutrient dense foods. One study, published in Clinical Nutritional and Metabolism Care, found that when people got fewer than seven hours of sleep, their daily calorie intake increased by 14 percent, with most of those extra calories coming from high-carbohydrate foods.

Burn more calories with a before bed workout and get better sleep to control your appetite. Our fitness experts at The Leaf have created this quick workout before bed to help you on your wellness and weight loss journey! Just remember to give yourself a one-hour break after the exercise. This will help your body cool down and prepare for slumber–;just as you would after a warm bath.

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Get started with some strength training.

Strength training at any time of the day improves your sleep. However, a before-bed strength session can mean you”;ll sleep more soundly, waking up less frequently during the night. Of course, it can also help with your weight loss goals: According to The Harvard Gazette, scientists found that men who performed 20 minutes of “daily weight training” experienced less age-related belly fat gains than those who did the same amount of cardio work.

This short before bed workout is lower intensity, so you won”;t get too amped up–;or too sweaty–;in the hours before bed. Perform all sets of each exercise before moving to the next exercise. Rest for one minute between each exercise and set.

Exercise 1: Squat to Chair (or Bed)

squat exercise

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, toes pointed slightly out from parallel. Push your hips back to initiate the squat, controlling your descent as you bend your knees to descend until you sit in the chair. As you descend, keep your chest up and your weight on your heels. Keep the weight of your body in your heels and press back to standing without using your hands. If this is too hard, perform only the lowering portion of the squat–;sitting down–;then use your hands to stand back up and repeat. Perform four sets of five repetitions each. Over time, try to increase the repetitions.

Exercise 2: Elevated Push-up

The Leaf working out before bed for improved wellness

Place your hands on the seat of chair or on the fourth step of a staircase. Assume the classic push-up position: Arms perpendicular to your torso, your body forming a straight line from head to heels. Maintaining this rigid body line, bend your elbows to lower your chest towards the seat. To protect your shoulders from pain and injury, keep your elbows relatively tight to your sides rather than flaring them out at a 90-degree angle. Press back to start. If this is too hard, try a wall push-up instead. Perform four sets of four or more repetitions each.

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Exercise 3: Supine Glute Bridge

The Leaf working out before bed for improved wellness

Lie face-up on a mat with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your arms at your sides, palms up. Keeping your feet flat on the floor, squeeze your glutes to raise your hips forcefully off the floor until your body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. As you”;re lifting, keep your knees and thighs parallel–;don”;t let them pull together. This will engage your hip musculature. Pause for a second at the top of the exercise, then slowly return to the start position. As you”;re raising up, don”;t let your heels come off the floor. Perform four sets of five repetitions each. Over time, try to increase the number of repetitions in each set.

Exercise 4: Wall Stick Up

The Leaf working out before bed for improved wellness

Stand facing away from a wall, with your feet about six inches away from the wall. Your head, upper back and butt should all be in contact with the wall–;and they should stay in contact with it throughout the exercise. Put your arms straight up overhead, with the backs of your hands, elbows and forearms in contact with the wall. Now slide your arms down the wall by bending your elbows, keeping your hands, forearms and shoulders in contact with the wall. Keep lowering until your elbows come as close as you can bring them to your sides. (You should feel a strong contraction between your shoulder blades.) Pause, then slide your arms back up the wall until your arms are overhead. Perform four sets of five repetitions each. Over time, try to increase the number of repetitions in each set, aiming for eight repetitions.

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Finish up with some calming stretches in bed.

When people with insomnia do yoga, they become more likely to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, says The National Sleep Foundation. Calm your own body down with this six-pack of restorative stretches after your strength workout, and help put yourself on the path to dreamland. Sit on the edge of the bed for the first three stretches, then lie on the bed for the last three.

Stretch 1: Circle Your Ankles

The Leaf working out before bed for improved wellness

Sit on the edge of the bed with both feet on the ground. Lift one foot off the floor and circle your ankle 10 to 15 times in each direction. Repeat with the other foot.

Stretch 2: Lift Your Heels

night stretches

Place both feet back on the floor. Press the balls of both feet into the floor and lift your heels off the ground, stretching the midfoot. Perform 10 to 15 lifts.

Stretch 3: Stretch Your Side

The Leaf working out before bed for improved wellness

Sit up tall. Place your right hand on the bed by your side and lift your left arm to the ceiling. Arc the left arm up and over the head until you feel a slight stretch in your side. Reverse the movement to the starting position. Repeat six to eight times per side.

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Stretch 4: Rock with Your Knees at Your Chest

The Leaf working out before bed for improved wellness

Lie on your back on the bed. Bring your knees towards your chest, and grab your legs just below your knees. Rock back and forth gently a few times.

Stretch 5: Single Knee to Chest

stretches

Still on your back, straighten your legs. Now bring just one knee up to your chest while the other remains outstretched on the bed. Hug the lifted knee to your chest, then switch legs. Hug each knee three times.

Stretch 6: Lying Arm Circles

The Leaf working out before bed for improved wellness

Let your legs go straight again on the bed. Spread your arms out so your body forms a “;T”; shape. Keeping your arms straight, perform 10 arm circles forward, then 10 back. Repeat one more time.

Learn more helpful sleep tips and fitness routines from our wellness experts at the Leaf! We”;re here to help you achieve your wellness goals along your weight loss journey.

Pair your workout routine with a healthy meal delivery service! Learn more about the Nutrisystem program >

*Always speak with your doctor before starting an exercise routine.

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The post Boost Weight Loss and Improve Sleep with this Before-Bed Workout Routine appeared first on The Leaf.

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com

Hike Your Way to Weight Loss: 10 Reasons to Go for a Hike Today

Hike Your Way to Weight Loss: 10 Reasons to Go for a Hike Today

Walking is one of the easiest ways to achieve your 30 minutes of daily activity. Hiking might as well be called “;next level”; walking–;it”;s more enjoyable, more engaging and a bit more challenging (but still not too hard). That”;s probably why hiking is one of the most popular outdoor activities, with more than 47 million Americans reporting that they hiked at least once in 2018, says Statista.com. If you haven’t added hiking to your weight loss exercise routine, we”;re here to tell you why you should start today.

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Get outside and take a hike! Here are 10 reasons to start hiking today:
1. Hiking is easy.

easy workout

You don”;t need to learn special skills, be super fit or have any prior experience. Hiking is simply walking on an outdoor trail. Even the challenges, such as going up and down hills or navigating uneven terrain, are manageable for beginners. If you can walk, you can most likely hike.

2. It burns more calories than walking.

burn calories

At a brisk walking pace of 17 minutes per mile, a 155-pound person burns about 149 calories in 30 minutes, says Harvard Health Publishing. Add a few hills on a hike and the calories burned jumps to 223 calories in 30 minutes–;that”;s about 50 percent more calories burned in the same amount of time.

3. It lifts your mood.

hiking

According to Stanford News, walking in natural areas rather than in man-made environments reduces “activity in a region of the brain associated with a key factor in depression.” The 2015 study was published in the peer-reviewed journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Other research has found that spending time in nature may help to reduce stress, says Harvard Health Publishing.

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4. Hiking strengthens your heart.

stress

Stress is said to be contributor to heart disease and hypertension (high blood pressure), so reducing stress might also lower your risk of suffering from these cardiac conditions, says Harvard Health Publishing. Hiking also gives your heart–;a powerful muscle–;a steady workout, helping it to grow strong and pump more efficiently even when you”;re at rest. “Like brisk walking, hiking is a good way to improve your cardiovascular fitness, particularly if your route includes some hills, which will force your heart to work harder,” explains Harvard Health Publishing.

5. Hiking flattens your belly.

flat belly

Going up and down inclines and traversing uneven terrain engages your core muscles–;the big muscles between your rib cage and knees, says Harvard Health Publishing. These include your abdominals, glutes (backside) and thighs. Hiking helps strengthen and tone those muscles as you shed excess pounds, so you become visibly leaner and firmer. Don’t forget to bring some flat belly snacks along on your hike! Check out these four easy ideas. >

6. It improves your balance.

hiking

Our sense of balance is essential to many everyday activities, such as climbing stairs, getting in and out of the shower or reaching up to high shelves. According to Time Magazine, the uneven terrain experienced while hiking can help to build up muscles that you don’t normally use. “Pumping up those oft-neglected muscles may improve your balance and stability, which helps protect you from falls,” they explain. For most people, the sense of balance deteriorates with age. Hiking keeps it working effectively.

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7. It expands your mind.

hiking

Most of us spend our time looking at lit screens and the same views day in and day out. When we get out in nature, we get better at focusing our attention, solving problems and developing creative ideas, according to the scientific journal, PLoS One. So, get outside, take a hike and get inspired!

8. Hiking is inexpensive.

easy workout

Unlike nearly every other fitness activity, hiking costs you almost nothing. All you need is a sturdy pair of shoes with a good tread. Yes, you can buy hiking shoes that will make your hikes easier and more comfortable. However, feel free to start out wearing ordinary sneakers before committing to purchasing footwear designed for this purpose.

9. Hiking happens anywhere.

hiking

Every state in the U.S. has national parks, historic trails and protected wilderness areas that you can visit. The National Park Service website allows you to search by state to find those closest to you. Many state and county parks also feature marked trails with signs that tell you how long and how challenging the trails are. With a little observation and investigation, you can often find unofficial trails to hike and undeveloped areas around your home. (Just be sure you”;re not trespassing on private property.) For more trail ideas, check out the American Trails Website.

10. Hiking is for everyone.

hiking

Wherever you are on your weight loss journey, you can enjoy the pleasures of hiking. You don”;t need to train, set goals or measure results. You can just take a walk in nature and feel good while you”;re doing it and for hours after you”;re back.

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New to hiking? Check out these four helpful tips for beginners:
1. Start slow.

hiking

For your first few hikes, choose routes that are shorter than you would normally walk–;hiking is more challenging than walking and you don”;t want to overdo it and find yourself sore or too exhausted when you are finished.

2. Bring water.

drink water

This will ensure you don”;t dehydrate along the way. Adequate water helps you stay alert and energized and keeps your metabolism working. Looking for the perfect water bottle to take on your hiking adventures? Click here for our water bottle shopping tips! >

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3. Go with a buddy.

hiking

Almost everything is more fun when you do it together. Hiking with a partner also ensures that in the unlikely event something goes wrong–;whether you get lost or twist an ankle–;help is right by your side. If you do choose to go on your own for a little solitude, be sure to tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back.

4. Keep your eyes and ears open.

hiking

We”;re accustomed to listening to our inner dialogues all day long. Take time while you”;re hiking to tune in to the sights and sounds around you. There are so many delights in nature, from birds chirping and flowers blooming to the rustle of tree leaves in a gentle breeze. Focusing on them can chase away your everyday cares and worries for a little while and make your life feel a little bit better, no matter what else is happening in the world.

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The post Hike Your Way to Weight Loss: 10 Reasons to Go for a Hike Today appeared first on The Leaf.

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com