with a book or in front of the TV and forget about the outside world. However, the minority consider the stillness of the night the best time for pulling on their trainers and going out for a run. They are sometimes called the nighthawks, as they move fast and silently, keeping a close watch for everything else that moves.
This is a wild and dangerous craze, you might think; adrenaline junkies with insomnia. However, it would be wrong to assume that a good night run is, in any way, bad influence on health. There is, actually, quite a long list of benefits of exercising at night. Let’s check them out.
1. Body Temperature and Hormones
A recent research carried out at the University of South Carolina, at the Department of Exercise Science, states that running at night or before dawn actually has many benefits. Shawn D. Youngstedt, an associate professor at this department, concluded that the late-night exercise does not disrupt sleep. He added that the body temperature is one of the factors, since it is higher in the evening and thus provide the body with more energy.
The other factor is the release of the hormones cortisol and thyrotropin, which influence the energy metabolism and reach the highest level later in the evening, as well.
2. Stress Release
More and more people work long hours during the day. Going for a run later in the evening is helpful both for our body and mind – it’s an active release from all the day’s thoughts, worries and expectations.
While running at night, you have to be present, relying fully on your senses. The only stress could be a shock if something unexpectedly jumps out in front of you, like a cat, a dog, or another runner perhaps.
But, don’t worry, your senses are on alert and you are able to deal with any kind of adversity. A rhythmic run, silence and darkness – a sort of an active meditation – precious moments you can have for yourself.
3. An Improved Pace
Consistent exercise is quite a challenge, taking into account all kinds of things we have to do during a day. But, there are no more interruptions at night and then you are able to be more dedicated and relaxed.
Another thing is that running in the dark makes you feel like you are moving faster. Many runners claim that evening run is easier and that their pace has been improving vividly for that reason, so they are able to be more consistent, as well.
4. Better Sleep
Shawn Youngstedt also pointed out that in many cases exercise improved the quality and ease of sleep. Body temperature rises during exercise and it affects the body in the same way as taking a hot bath before going to sleep.
Running in general has good effects – it reduces anxiety and muscle tension, eases blood pressure and erases daily stress.
- Follow common sense and don’t choose isolated, remote roads or tracks.
- Also, make sure you “glow” in the dark, so that someone driving a car or cycling at night can see you. If you wear trainers with stripes, that’s fine, but your upper body has to be secured, too. Gadgets like highly visible reflective tape can help you achieve this – so use it to secure your wrists, hats and socks.
- Don’t listen to loud music – you need to be able to hear a car approaching.
- You can try using a headlamp, as well, just be aware that it takes time to adjust your eyes to it.
- Finally, try not to think about all the things you have to do tomorrow or you will end up being distracted and, therefore, still under a great deal of stress.
The best time for a night run is a couple of hours before going to bed. Try and see how this type of exercises fits you.
If you sleep like a baby afterwards and you feel like you have more energy a day after – it is definitely something worth incorporating into your daily (or should I say nightly) routine.