Working out in the morning or halfway through the day can boost your energy, help you maintain focus, and uplift your mood. However, are there similar perks and advantages to working out at night? Nighttime fitness has its fair share of benefits. With that said, your exercise regimen should depend on what you plan to do after being active – whether that’s going to sleep, working a night shift, etc. Here’s what you should know about nighttime workouts, particularly which exercises you should skip and which you should try instead.
If you plan to go to sleep shortly after your workout, there are certain things you should avoid. Certain exercises can either help or hinder sleep patterns, according to Michael Breus, a clinical psychologist, and board-certified sleep expert. For example, he said, “regular cardiovascular exercise appears to help people fall asleep and stay asleep” — but timing matters. Breus recommended finishing your cardio workout at least four hours before you go to bed because melatonin, the hormone produced by the brain that helps with sleep, is released when your core body temperatures are low. Exercise increases that temperature. If sleep is what you’re after, HIIT exercise may not be the right fit for you as well. This type of training releases endorphins that provide a euphoric boost in energy. That might be great before a night out, but it may not be the most ideal option if you’re working out before trying to sleep.
However, if you need to stay awake, you should try one of the options above. Anel Pla, a certified personal trainer in New York, is partial to multifunctional moves that can increase alertness ― like burpees. If you need to work late or stay awake for another reason, Pla said burpees can “definitely increase your energy level and prepare you physically and mentally for a long night shift.” Exercises you should do around bedtime include strength training and yoga. Sticking to less dynamic exercise is best around bedtime. After weightlifting, which taxes your central nervous system, you might feel a buzz and be in a calm, relaxed state. This is ideal if you plan to go straight to bed after working out. Light yoga might also be your answer as it helps focus the mind and relax the body. So, from now on, when you workout during the night, think about the advices above – and fit your workout to what you plan to do after it.