Hot yoga is so last season. It’s all about night exercising now, says Penny Fray
So how’s your summer fitness regime going? Occasionally dragging yourself to the gym to text from a treadmill before spending the rest of your training hour complaining how tired you feel? Trainers mouldering under your desk? Using Ramadan or the heat as an excuse to turn into a slouch? Thought so. We’ve all been there – a lack of energy, time and a whole heap of other excuses can stall anyone from hitting their health high. Which is why we suggest you embrace the latest exercising trend – twilight training.
It’s been all the rage since Adidas’s 24-hour thunder run and scientists discovering that exercising after dark is better for mind, body and spirit. Throw in the added incentives of refueling at Iftar, no scorching sun and the fact that no one will be watching you wobbling your way to weight loss in unflattering lycra, and my only question is: what are you waiting for?
Of course, being a dog owner means that I’ve been doing it for years. There is something quite meditative about taking a mutt out for its pre-bedtime walk. Being surrounded by blackness somehow heightens your senses, so that every cricket clicking is amplified tenfold and your mind empties as you focus on not running into a lamppost.
“You feel less self conscious and more alert at night,” agrees Hannah, a 34-year-old artist who loves jogging in the dark. “Your mind is so tightly focused on your surroundings that tiredness, pace or bumping into someone or something becomes less of an issue.”
Specialists add that doing night moves may even give us a psychological boost. According to the University of Essex Performance Unit in the UK, running in darkness alters your perception of speed and potential effort.
Moreover, science in general believes that our bodies are better designed to exercise in the dark. Studies on our body clocks have shown that lung function, alertness and fitness peak in the evening. And according to experts, hormones that play a part in energy metabolism are higher after twilight. Besides, exercise can reduce your risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer by up to 50 per cent and lower your risk of early death by up to 30 per cent. Do it at night and the chances are you’ll sleep better to boot.
Of course, you need to be careful. You may be fasting after all. Get medical advice before enlisting for anything too strenuous. Even if you are fit, able and eating more carrots than Bugs Bunny to improve your night vision, you’ll also need to be seen. That means carrying a torch or wearing a headlamp and reflective clothing. Also, let your eyes and body get used to moving in darkness. Try a short route you know well to begin with – and go slowly because your peripheral vision is reduced. Once you get used to the opaqueness, you’ll have opened a brave new world of sights, sounds and sensations. Enjoy!
1. Adidas Running Light: Can be worn on either arms or legs to warn others of your presence.
2. The Nike Reflective Futura T-Shirt offers a special logo graphic that stands out night or day.
3. Offering increased grip, visibility and gender-specific cushioning – the Asics GT 3000 W is worth investigating for evening runs.