Exercising in the dark? Here's what you should know

Exercising in the dark? Here's what you should know

If you work out after dusk, you should keep these things in mind to stay safe!  

Sometimes our schedule is so tight that there is no other option but to work out at nighttime. During winter, it's colder, darker and you should make sure you are safe while running or cycling! Here are some things that will help you  get ready:

Stay warm

It's all about the layers! Leggings or tights, base layers, a running or cycling jacket, and waterproofs. Sam Jones, who is a keen night-time mountain biker, says: “People often forget to layer their hands and feet. You can wear inner gloves and merino socks under thicker gloves and waterproof socks – try Sealskinz or Endura.”

Make sure you are seen!

Reflective clothing is not and should not be optional.

Reflective clothing is not and should not be optional. You need to be seen. Fluorescent clothing works by converting UV sunlight into the light we can see, so it isn’t effective at night, whereas reflective clothes use artificial light, such as car headlights and streetlights.

Ceri Rees, who founded the Wild Night Run series of night-time trail races in the southwest of England, says you don’t have to invest in a whole new outfit. “You could focus on accessories: reflective wristbands, bumbag, and hat.”

Stay safe

People who work out at late hours usually share one concern: safety. One option is a runner’s alarm that straps around your wrist and is activated by pulling a chain or clicking a button.

Other safety tips include sticking to well-lit, well-populated areas; varying your route; running without headphones; and using a safety app such as bSafe.

If you don’t feel comfortable exercising alone, however, Paris suggests going with a dog or a friend. In non-Covid times, you can also find a local running or cycling group to train with and enter a night race or ride.

Stay motivated

If possible, exercise at the same time every week.

If possible, exercise at the same time every week, so it becomes a habit, rather than relying on willpower. “Once you get into a routine of getting up at 5 am, your body gets used to it,” says Jasmin Paris, a fell runner who won the 268-mile Spine Race along the Pennine Way in 83 hours, 12 minutes and 23 seconds in 2019. “After I had my first baby, I ran with a friend. If we’d arranged to meet at 7 am in the hills, I couldn’t cancel – I’d be letting them down.”

Don't worry about your sleep

Some people fear working out at night because they think they might end up too wired to get some rest. However, A 2019 study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology found that even high-intensity interval running sessions in the evening “do not disrupt and may even improve subsequent nocturnal sleep in endurance-trained runners”, while low-intensity exercise “induced positive changes in sleep behavior”.

Nick Connelly

Though he spent most of his time on camera, covering major sports events, Nick’s life-long dream was to become a sports columnist. Today, Nick researches and covers workout routines, exercise-related tips and tricks and sports diets. In need of an effective training routine? Look no further than Nick’s articles.+ info

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