Need-to-know tips for exercising in the dark

Don’t let a little darkness get in the way of your workout

Women's Health Contributor / May 25 2017

Our busy lifestyles mean we have to make the most of what little time we have to exercise whenever we can, even if its pitch black outside. Follow these four expert tips to get past the wanting-to-crawl-back-into-bed feels, or the sit-on-the-couch-post-work blues, and crush those fringe hour workouts. Now off you go. 

#1 / Act normal

Do your AM routine (wash face, brush teeth) before you leave. Youll feel like youre starting your day rather than tacking on a workout before your day begins, says trainer Lisa Keller.

#2 / Pick a cue

Use audiovisual cues to signal its go-time: for example, flip on the TV at 6:30, then get up when you hear the weather (same time every day). Cues help form habits, says Keller.

#3 / Focus on your feet

Been lying in bed or sitting all day at work? Moving your feet instantly wakes up your body, says Keller. Spread your toes, rotate your ankles – within minutes, the mind-body connection will help you want to move.

#4 / Rejig your meals

For night workouts, aim to finish 90 per cent of your kilojoules pre-workout, say trainer Jon Mason. An hour before your session, eat a dinner snack (we like banana with almond butter). Then post-sweat, have a small salad.

Wandering if your PM workout will mess with your sleep?

Not the way you think! While evening exercise can make it tougher to crash quickly (blame the rise in body temp), it can actually help you score better quality shut-eye by nixing the stress that might jolt you awake, says exercise physiologist Pete McCall. A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found people who did a resistance circuit at 7pm woke up fewer times than when they did the circuit at 7am or skipped it entirely. If youre not used to working out at night, give yourself three or four hours to cool down after a high-intensity (one or two for low-intensity) before you climb into bed. After a month, your body will adapt and need less time. Expert tip: Take a cold shower to speed up the cool-down process, says McCall.

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Main image credit: @jesinta_campbell

Ashleigh Austen is a Sydney-based beauty editor with a penchant for all things skin care.

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