Why you should be exercising in the evening

evening run

Each active person works to their own routine. If you’re an early bird, the idea of swimming a few lengths before heading to work could be tempting. On the other hand, late risers might prefer to hit the gym when the day is almost done. Of course, everybody has their own theory about what works best for them. But what about the facts?

New research reveals the benefits of evening workouts

Recent research may shed some light on how we can get more from our workouts. A brand new study, published in the Experimental Physiology journal, suggests that engaging in 30 minutes of high-intensity exercise can be highly beneficial, regardless of the time of day you do it. Interesting stuff. Here’s a closer look at what the study found and how being active during the evening could be a positive move for your health.

  • Late night activity does not hinder your sleep

Exercising late at night gets a bad rap. For as long as you can remember, you’ve likely heard and maybe believed the following advice: ‘don’t work out too late or you won’t sleep well’. The underlying idea is simple. If you train late, it means your body is ultra active and, ultimately, awake. That means that when the night comes and it’s time to sleep, you will struggle to relax and unwind. So, is there any truth here?

Well, according to the study, probably not. As part of the research, participants were instructed to exercise at one of three different times; the morning, afternoon or evening. The researchers evaluated how these active periods affected their routines. Surprisingly, those in the evening exercise group did not see any detrimental impact on their sleep. With that in mind, there’s no reason that you should avoid training later in the evening.

  • It could actually reduce your appetite

Does anybody fancy a late night snack? For many of us, overeating and consuming unhealthy snacks can be genuine problems. What’s more, when the evening comes, the temptation to eat badly only gets worse. While you’re chilling out on the sofa, your mind may swiftly wander to the contents of the treat cupboard. Luckily, if you happen to get sweet cravings as it gets later in the day, becoming active could be a smart solution.

The study also found that exercising in either the evening or the night was linked to a decrease in the production of the hunger-stimulating hormone, ghrelin. In theory, that means that people who work out later could also eat less than others. However, it’s worth noting that this result did not occur after a one-off bout of activity. So, if you want to reap the hunger-beating rewards, you need to commit to regularly exercising late in the day.

Light therapy yoga

Types of exercise to try in the evening

If you want to shake up your routine and start exercising in the evening, you may be wondering what type of activity you can do. Of course, you could simply hit the gym and complete your regular training regime, but why not try something new? Let’s take a look at a few ideas and how you can get started with this new way of getting (and staying!) fit.

  • Take a dance class

If you love to throw shapes, taking a dance class could be an excellent way to work out. The great thing about dance classes is that there’s a huge variety and they often take place in the evening. These activities are a great form of cardio workout – they really get your blood pumping. Check out your local gyms, bars, and community centres to see what sessions are available near you. We particularly love ‘Blok Party’ at Blok London and ‘Dance Cardio’ classes at Frame!

  • Head out for a jog

You should never underestimate the power of the great outdoors. If you happen to live near a park or pedestrianised area, going out for a jog could be a quick and inexpensive way to stay in shape. Of course, if you’re thinking of taking up this healthful habit, you have to put your own safety first. If it’s getting dim outside, ensure that you wear a high-vis jacket at all times. You could also use apps, such as MapMyRun and Strava, to help you get started.

  • Try some yoga

There are numerous benefits to taking up yoga, including improved flexibility, stress relief and higher levels of fitness. So, if you’re looking for a practice that you can do in your own home during the evening, you may just have found the ideal one for you. It’s also an amazing way to wind down the mind before bedtime. One simple way to take up yoga at home is to start watching YouTube yoga classes online. All you need to do is get an exercise mat for your home and dedicate a little time each night to the activity.

There are also some great classes specifically aimed at an evening yoga practice. We love Chroma Yoga in Shoreditch, which uses different light therapies and sound frequencies depending on the time of day, to align with your circadian rhythm.

Sunset meditation

Get started on a new routine today!

Now that you’re clued up when it comes to exercising in the evening, why not give it a go? Fitting your workout in later in the day could work for your personal routine and also mean that you get fewer cravings. Think about the various types of activity you can do and choose the one that suits your skills. Then focus on making it a habitual part of your evening routine.

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