While outdoor sports are typically associated with daytime workouts, there are a lot of people who prefer to do the same after dark. Since not everyone may be an early bird, or have the time to squeeze in regular exercise during their hectic daytime schedules, engaging in outdoor sports at night seems to be a logical option.
However, not everyone may find scheduling outdoor sports at night into their routine a natural addition. In addition, a lot of debate has taken place whether it is healthy to work out before bedtime and whether eating before exercising is wise. While mealtimes and bedtime are both important considerations, taking a few steps to organise and plan night time exercise can help stay true to after dark workouts. Here are some ideas to stay organised:
Choose Your Night Exercise Wisely
Just as outdoor workouts vary during the morning hours, sports at night can also be the same. Whether it is along walk, a jog, an outdoor run, swimming, basketball with friends or cycling that takes your fancy, make sure it is something that you enjoy. This fun factor is especially important since you may be tired after a long day at work and the thought of surviving a routine workout may prove to be too much.
Instead when you have an activity planned that you find highly enjoyable, chances are that you will look forward to it and stick with it without getting bored too easily.
Plan Your Meal Times Right
Eating a big dinner right before heading out to exercise at night will certainly diminish energy levels and cause digestion issues. However, planning to have dinner two to three hours before an evening workout or even plan a light post workout meal after you are done can work effectively.
For some this may mean having an early dinner at home or even the office so that there is ample time to digest the meal before engaging in any outdoor activity or sport.
Keep Your Allergies in Mind
For many people outdoor sports and workouts can be challenging enough especially if they suffer from allergies. It is recommended that such individuals avoid outdoor physical activity when air quality is not at its best. Also, pollen counts are highest in the mornings while pollution levels tend to be highest during mid-day or afternoon. As such, it makes sense to do some kind of outdoor sports at night to prevent aggravating allergies. In fact, for such individuals this may actually count as a benefit of outdoor exercise at night.
Enjoy Sound Sleep after Night Exercise
Another perk to exercising later on in the day or doing sports at night is that you can look forward to a sound sleep experience. There have been multiple opinions about whether night exercise interferes with sleep patterns or if working out in the later part of the day can actually disrupt otherwise good sleep habits, but all views agree on one thing; any type of exercise done at any time during the day is more beneficial than not working out at all.
The time when you decide to work out is less relevant than actually engaging in a workout. Conclusively, it has been established anyone who works out regularly enjoys a better sleep experience, regardless of the time of their workout, than someone else who does not exercise regularly.
Another plus to exercising at night is that exercise boosts endorphin production, chemicals that relieve stress. Night exercise gives individuals a chance to sweat out their stress after a long day.
Safety Measures for Night Exercise
And while outdoor exercise at night is a possibility for many, a choice for some, and a preference for still others, it is also important to stay safe when doing so. Working out at night does come with its share of safety concerns such as low visibility or empty streets. Therefore, staying safe at night needs some careful planning and certain things need to be considered:
- For instance, when going out for outdoor exercise at night, it is advised to always plan your route and let someone knew where you will be. A good idea is to carry a cell phone at all times along with some identification.
- Wearing reflective gear allows drivers and others to see you clearly. Wearing reflective clothing and shoes when engaged in outdoor exercise at night helps increase your visibility and may prevent any unfortunate mishaps form taking place. Where possible, stay on sidewalks and streets with bike lanes or wide shoulders.
- Likewise, night exercisers should always be extra careful at intersections and crosswalks where there might be more traffic.
- Wherever possible, take a fellow exerciser with you. Being in a group makes people more visible to approaching cars so find a friend who can make time for night exercise with you or if not, take your pet along for company and numbers.
- Practice good sense and trust your intuition. Stay away from unpopulated areas, be aware of the surrounding environment and change your route periodically to avoid predictably.
- It is also recommended to avoid wearing headphones during a night run or jog since headphones may restrict hearing and distract you. While music has shown to improve effort, efficiency and endurance, it may also serve as a distraction. For people who practice outdoor exercise at night music can be a most dangerous distraction for pedestrians.
Do you think engaging in outdoor sports is a good thing? Share your thoughts in the comments below.