The gym is a place to unwind and play.
But that also means it can be a place where you can slip into a false sense of security.
And when that happens, the results can be devastating.
Gym-goers can fall asleep during physical training exercises or simply take too long in their warm-up routines, researchers have found.
In a study of more than 8,000 gymnasts from all over the world, the researchers found that people were more likely to fall asleep while they were exercising and more likely if they were training on a treadmill or a stationary bike.
And that’s because the muscles that move during the exercise can’t fully relax as much as they should, the team reported in the journal The Journal of Physiology.
That means you may feel a bit of a buzz before your workout, but the muscles in your body will not fully relax.
Exercise, in other words, isn’t the best thing to do for your health.
Here are three things you can do to keep your muscles strong and your mind sharp.
Get the most bang for your fitness buck: A study of 10,000 male gymnasts by the US National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) found that participants who worked out for 15 minutes a day had a 27 per cent lower risk of experiencing sleep apnea than those who didn’t.
A full 15 minutes of physical activity per day also lowered your risk of having a sleep apneic episode.
Get fit, but not too much: A recent study by researchers at the University of British Columbia found that an hour of moderate-intensity exercise a week is the optimal amount of exercise to help build muscle mass, so you can actually see results.
But you should not overdo it, the authors wrote, noting that doing 10 minutes of running or walking a couple of times a week does not necessarily mean you’ll get enough physical activity to build muscle.
“In terms of muscle building, we’ve all heard the maxim: ‘get fit and lose weight’, but it’s important to note that exercise alone is not sufficient,” said Dr Michael Laidlaw, a registered dietitian at the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in Exercise Metabolism and the lead author of the study.
The authors also suggested that you can go even further by incorporating moderate exercise into your normal exercise schedule.
If you’re a gym-goer who’s also a regular exerciser, “it’s probably more effective to incorporate a lot of cardio into your training,” said Laidlaws.
You could even consider doing some light exercise during your day, like taking a walk outside or going for a run in the afternoon.
“There’s no real reason to limit your exercise to a certain number of minutes per week,” he added.
Avoid eating too much and not eating too little: Exercise can affect your appetite, so if you’re exercising regularly, you’ll want to ensure that you’re eating plenty of healthy foods, Dr Laidaws said.
But “eating too little can also cause you to overeat,” he said.
This could mean skipping meals or eating meals that are too salty or too rich in carbohydrates.
“If you’re constantly overeating, your body’s already been putting in a lot to make sure you have enough calories to fuel your muscles and muscles are getting burned off.”
Avoid drugs and alcohol: Research suggests that exercise and physical activity can have similar effects on the brain.
“I would say exercise has a greater effect on the dopamine system, a neurotransmitter that controls reward, and mood,” said Katherine Eagan, a clinical professor of psychology at the California State University, Long Beach.
“It’s also likely that the exercise may help regulate blood pressure and blood sugar, and these two factors can have positive or negative effects on our health.”
Exercise and alcohol also may have an effect on your mood, she said.
“That may be a reason why you have less negative emotions,” she said, adding that there is also a potential for the negative emotions to get worse as exercise wears off.
“You may think exercise and alcohol have a similar effect on you, but they don’t.”
Exercise can help you recover faster from your injuries and can also help you avoid chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
Exercise can also boost your mood and improve your mental health.
Dr Laxlaw suggested that even if you’ve already achieved a fitness level, exercise can still be beneficial for your overall health.
“The benefits of exercise are not limited to just the health benefits, but also mental health benefits as well,” she added.
“Physical activity may have the potential to lower stress and anxiety, boost mood and mood can have a positive effect on mood and reduce anxiety.”
Keep it simple, but keep your head up: Exercise has long been associated with lower blood pressure, but studies have found that more vigorous exercise also lowers your risk for stroke.