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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

How nighttime workouts are changing the fitness game

Shavonne Chin

For those looking to stay fit while still catching up on their sleep, an option lies in store with its own set of noteworthy benefits. While I commend all the early birds out there with their acclimated sleep schedules and “go get ‘em” attitude in their chase for the worm, I know I speak for a large population of individuals who agree, early morning gym runs are just not for me. Whether you are a night owl or a sleep lover, don’t fret – there are plenty of worms left for you, too.

Late-night workouts can give you more flexibility in your schedule, but are also said to have their own set of unique health benefits, ranging widely from increased energy, improved muscular strength and even better sleep. But does the time of your workout really matter all that much? A 2022 study published by the International Journal of Exercise Science argues that it does.

The IJES observed the relationship between sleep and athletic performances in 18 NCAA Division III college athletes over a two-week period via the use of wristwatch monitors. Results showed that when waking up early for morning workouts, all of the athletes obtained significantly less total sleep than days when they didn’t have early practice, regardless of sex and sport. It was also found that in correlation with less total sleep time, the anxiety and recovery status in each of the athletes was also disrupted.

Even for all the non-collegiate athletes out there, an evening workout could have vast benefits for you, too. I find that sometimes after a long tedious day of sitting in class, a workout can be just the solution I need to de-stress and use up any extra energy I have left over.

Many people actually tend to have more energy saved towards the end of their day rather than in the morning, letting them get the absolute most out of their night time workout. According to a study from England’s University of Birmingham feautred in Self Magazine, an individual’s performance peaks up to 11 hours after waking for late-risers, giving later gym-goers the ability to go up to 20% longer in their workouts at higher intensities.

Another unique benefit of working out in the evening is one geared toward the more introverted of night owls. If you feel the gym is an especially intimidating place for you, you are not alone. I find that an extra crowded and busy gym can quickly hinder my confidence and lead me to question my abilities, especially when I’m by myself or trying something new.

Feelings of social anxiety and insecurity in the gym, known as “gymidation,” is actually a more common feeling than one might expect. According to a 2019 study conducted by The New York Post, one in two Americans said they felt intimidated at the thought of working out at a gym, and as many as 50% even defined the idea of working out amongst other people as a “daunting prospect.”

So, whether you are looking to spend some extra hours of your morning in bed, see changes in your sleep or fitness performance, or even regain control of those pesky socially anxious thoughts, going to the gym after hours might be a no-brainer. Try Planet Fitness, which has millions of locations nationwide that are open 24 hours, giving members the ability to get their workout in at all hours of the night.

Take a trip over to your local gym after a long day in classes or at work and give it a try. You might never go back to early gym runs again.


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