In order for us to stay healthy and fit, sport and sufficient exercise are very important – we all know that. For a healthy and vital life, experts recommend exercising moderately for at least 2-3 hours a week. But getting out of the warm bed before sunrise costs us an extra portion, especially in the darker months. And outdoor training in winter doesn’t sound so tempting either. After work we usually have to go shopping, cook for the family and do other tasks. So when should we train then? Many sports enthusiasts are concerned with the question of the perfect time. When is the best time to lose weight or how should we train? A light workout in the evening is and remains the classic nowadays in the stressful everyday life. So if you prefer to lie down a little longer in the morning, then you would be in good hands with a workout before bed. What are the benefits of exercising before bed and what are the best exercises for effective late-night training? We’ll tell you all of this as well as lots of other useful information and tips below!
It is better to avoid exercise before going to bed, otherwise our sleep will be disturbed – we have all heard this at least once. However, this is nothing more than a common myth. During a strenuous workout, our heart rate increases and it always takes a certain amount of time until we are down again. As researchers at the Institute for Movement Sciences and Sport Zurich have found out, light training in the evening has a number of advantages and can even improve the quality of sleep. To arrive at this result, the team evaluated 23 studies that looked at the relationship between exercise in the evening and the quality of sleep.
Evening workouts: what are the benefits of a bedtime workout?
As already mentioned, exercise scientists have already shown that a moderate workout before bed can even have positive effects on sleep quality in certain cases. However, training should be ended a maximum of 4 hours in the evening and a minimum of 30 minutes before going to bed – only then does the body have enough time to rest. Not convinced yet? Then read below some of the most important benefits of evening training.
- An evening workout relieves stress – A moderate workout before bed is particularly beneficial for our mental health. It makes our brain stronger, has a relaxing effect and can reduce stress. In addition, the levels of the stress hormone cortisol are lowest late in the evening. And since this hormone promotes muscle building, training in the evening would be the perfect time to build muscle and melt the fat.
- In the evening we have more energy than we think – Every body has its own biorhythm with high and low phases. In the morning, the energy stores are empty and do not start to rise again until around 4 p.m., with the high phase continuing until around 10 p.m. A study carried out by the University of Mannheim has shown that we can train up to 20% longer and more intensively in the evening than in the morning.
- The deep sleep effect – The participants in one study did a light workout before going to bed, and according to the results, they spent an average of 22.3 percent of their sleep time in deep sleep. In the evenings without exercise, the same subjects came to 18.9 percent sleep time in deep sleep. Although the difference may seem small, it is still crucial, as the low phases are particularly important for the regeneration of the body. However, to benefit from this effect, you should exercise at a low to medium intensity level. A LISS training, for example, is perfect for this.
- Training in the evening against tension – Sitting in front of the computer all day is a sure recipe for stiffness. At the end of the day, your neck, back, and shoulders hurt. Exercising in the evening can actually help with back pain. In order to permanently relieve joint and muscle tension, you should rather concentrate on stretching and yoga exercises.
- Prevents unhealthy habits – Yes, a workout before bed will also successfully fight off unhealthy habits. If you exercise in the evening, you are less likely to sit in front of the TV with a bag of chips and a beer. This will change your lifestyle in a positive way.
It is better to refrain from an intense workout before bed
Excluded from all these positive effects of training in the evening, however, are intensive training units that are carried out within 1-2 hours before going to bed. Not all exercises are created equal when it comes to how they affect your sleep. It is therefore very important that you always choose your activity and timing carefully. If you plan on exercising late at night, it is better to exercise at a low intensity and to end the workout at least 1 hour before bedtime – this will give your body enough time to relax. In addition, high-intensity Tabata training, for example, will increase the body’s core temperature and heart rate, keep the brain active and lead to a rush of adrenaline. As a result, you will be wide awake in bed at 1 a.m. It’s actually very easy to tell whether your workouts are intense or not. If you can’t talk anymore, it’s too intense. On the other hand, if you exercise moderately, you should still be able to hold a conversation.
You should include these exercises in your training session in the evening!
So that you can stay fit and still sleep well and restfully, we have put together the best exercises for you, which are perfect for an effective workout before bed. Pick 3-4 exercises and do 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions each, resting for 20 seconds between sets. In this way you burn a few more calories in the evening and prepare your body for a relaxing and quiet night.
- Plank exercise – So that you can train as many muscle groups as possible at the same time in the shortest possible time, you should rather rely on compound exercises. The many plank variants are undoubtedly some of the most effective full-body exercises with dead weight that can be performed anywhere and anytime. Choose any plank exercise and try to hold the position for at least 40 seconds. Rest briefly and repeat twice more.
- Glute Bridge – Every woman dreams of a nice and firm bottom and the Glute Bridge is the perfect exercise for it! To do this, lie on your back and kneel at your feet, with your toes pointing forward and your arms flat on the floor. Then lift the buttocks and pelvis so that the body forms a straight line from the knees to the head. Hold the position briefly and lower the pelvis again, but not on the floor.
- Squats – No matter whether you train in the gym or at home – the squat exercise should not be missing in any training routine! You mainly train your legs and buttocks, but the stomach is also addressed to a certain extent. Just stand in front of the bed and do 100 squats at a time. If that gets too easy, you can adjust the level of difficulty by using light weights or increasing the number of repetitions.
- Stationary lunge is undoubtedly the perfect exercise for toning your whole body without getting your heart rate up. To do this, simply step into a lunge and take your back foot down so far that you form a 90-degree angle with your front and back knees when you kneel down. To increase the level of difficulty and shift the center of gravity even more to the bottom, you can place your front foot on a platform.
Stretching exercises are perfect for an effective and relaxing workout before bed
Stretching is often overlooked among natural sleeping pills like chamomile tea or essential oils. In fact, Mobility Training can help you fall asleep faster, improve the quality of sleep and forget the stress of the day. Stretching exercises are also ideal for relieving muscle tension in the neck and back area.
- Downward facing dog with leg extension – This exercise stretches the whole body and also trains the abdominal and buttock muscles – a real all-rounder! Start in the classic four-legged position and push yourself up so that only your feet and hands are touching the ground and your body forms a triangle. Then lift the left leg as far as possible, hold it briefly and push the knee towards the tip of the nose. Repeat for 30 seconds and repeat with the other leg.
- Sphinx position is one of the most famous yoga exercises ever. This strengthens the spine and trains the lower abdomen. In addition, blood circulation is promoted, which in turn reduces stress at the same time. Lie on your stomach with your forehead on the floor and toes extended. Now stretch out your hands in front of you and point your palms down. Inhale deeply and lift your head, abdomen and chest slightly, making sure that your belly button remains on the floor. Then use your arms to move your torso up and back. Inhale and exhale deeply as you bend your spine backwards.
- Prevention is ideal for recharging your batteries and relieving tension in the neck. When doing this, it is important to be careful not to overdo the stretch and to listen to your body. Sit down and stretch your legs forward. Bend your upper body forward as far as is comfortable for you. Lower your forehead towards your thighs and hold the pose for about 10 calm, deep breaths.
- Knee hug stretches the entire musculature in a very gentle way and is therefore perfect for light training in the evening. Lie on your back with your legs straight out. Pull your right knee to your chest and grasp it with both hands. Hold the position for 30 seconds and repeat with the other leg.