This Is the Type of Exercise You’ll Want To Get for Better Sleep in 2021

This isn’t your standard New Year’s plan. No restrictive diets, no weekly weigh-ins, no “whole new you” for this new year—because, hey, you’re pretty great already. These four expert-led plans—designed to help you move your body, eat more veggies, get a better night’s sleep, or show yourself some loving care—are all about developing healthy habits that better align with your goals.

Research shows that people who get enough physical activity during the day sleep much better at night than those who don't. Aerobic exercise is a great way to set yourself up to sleep well. But don't sweat it if jogging isn't your thing—cardio isn't the only type of exercise that helps you sleep like a baby.

In a recent study, published in Preventive Medicine Reports, the authors looked at data gathered from more than 23,600 German adults. After analyzing the participants' strength training exercise habits and sleep quality, they found that any muscle-strengthening exercise is associated with a reduced prevalence of "poor" or "very poor" sleep.

"Most of the evidence on physical activity and sleep quality is based on studies assessing the effects of aerobic moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (like brisk walking, cycling, and jogging). Emerging clinical evidence suggests that muscle-strengthening exercise (like push‐ups and using weight machines) may also be beneficial for sleep quality," write the study authors. "To our knowledge, this study provides the first population-level evidence favorably linking muscle-strengthening exercise to sleep quality."

There are a couple things to know about this new connection between strength training and sleep. First of all, you don't need to do a lot of it to potentially experience improved sleep quality. This study found it only takes small-to-moderate increases in muscle-strengthening exercise. Additionally, it opens the door for anyone who isn't a fan of cardio. "Muscle-strengthening exercise offers an alternative form of physical activity/exercise among those with poor quality sleep, who might find it difficult to engage in and/or not enjoy aerobic exercise," wrote the study authors.

Whether you love working with gym equipment or sticking to bodyweight exercises, your strength-training workouts might help you get the rest you deserve and more.

Work up a sweat with this core and back workout:

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