Use the end of daylight saving time to step up your workout routine

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This weekend marks the end of summer time. Many of us dread losing precious daylight after work at this time of year. For my part, I mourn my walks after work in the neighborhood, which starting next week will require reflective gear.

“The darkening day earlier can confuse fitness enthusiasts who use the outdoors as an environment to exercise,” Michele Smallidge, speaker and director of the exercise science program, said today at the University of New Haven. “People who had established a plan for cardiovascular training outdoors after work, such as walking, running, biking or rowing, throughout the spring and summer, may now need to find alternate plan or change the way they do it. “

While the transition is an adjustment, experts say we’re actually going back to a daytime schedule that complements our circadian rhythm. (This is why many of them ask to get rid of seasonal time changes altogether.)

Standard time fits better with human circadian biology because it allows most people to sleep better at night and to feel more alert during the day.

“When we roll back the clocks one hour on November 7, we’ll go back to standard time, and most Americans will be more exposed to light in the morning and less exposed to light in the evening,” said Erin Flynn- Evans, circadian physiologist. runs a large sleep research lab, TODAY said. “During standard time, your body clock, sunrise and sunset times and local time are more synchronized than in daylight saving time. Standard time is better aligned with human circadian biology because it allows most people to sleep better at night and to feel more alert during the day.

The change in daylight has caused me to rethink my workout routine for practical reasons – the 6-hour walks will soon be suspended until longer days return – but there may still be more to it. reasons to change our fitness routine right now.

“Changing behaviors and adapting new routines can be difficult any time of the year, but using (the end of) daylight saving time as a signal to start a new routine can be the starting point for setting up. new habits early in the morning, ”says Smallidge.

Here’s how to use the return to standard time – and the promise of better sleep and more energy – to boost your workouts.

Adopt a bedtime earlier

More light exposure in the morning and less light exposure at night “provides an ideal opportunity to make healthy sleep a priority by adopting an earlier bedtime,” said Flynn-Evans. “Your body will be ready to sleep an hour earlier than normal on the Sunday following the time change (remember that the fallback means 11:00 pm becomes 10:00 pm). Take advantage of this by maintaining a bedtime earlier after the time change.

Sleep and exercise have a symbiotic relationship: we get the most out of our workouts when we are well rested and exercise improves the quality of our sleep. So now is the perfect time to make both a priority. “Adequate sleep is one of the three pillars of a healthy lifestyle, along with good nutrition and regular physical activity. As such, even small amounts of routine physical activity can improve your sleep and overall well-being, ”said Flynn-Evans. “A investigation of over 155,000 adults in the United States asked participants if they had exercised in the past month, such as running, golfing, gardening, or walking. Those who did were one-third less likely to report sleep problems and half as likely to report daytime fatigue. “

Try morning workouts

Yes, daylight shifting can put a key in your plans for an evening run in the park, but on the upside we’re lucky to have more daylight in the morning, which makes it the perfect time to try out this morning workout routine.

“The one hour jet lag during fall time to standard time results in more exposure to light in the morning … It is easier for most people to wake up in the morning when they are is daylight, ”said Flynn-Evans. “Likewise, it is easier for most people to go to bed earlier when it is darker earlier in the evening, which allows for a longer night’s sleep.”

Getting moving early in the day can also give your sanity a boost, which we could all use in a time when less light and cold are weighing on us. “Physical activity stimulates various chemicals in the brain that can make you happier, more relaxed, and less anxious,” Smallidge explains. “Starting the day with a healthy mindset can be rewarding and help keep habits and productivity on track throughout the day.”

In addition to going to bed earlier, use these simple tips to make morning workouts a habit:

  1. Prepare the day before. “The less you have to do to get started, the easier a morning workout will be,” said Anel Pla, Certified Personal Trainer at Simplexity Fitness. “Put your sports clothes and shoes next to the bed so you can grab them as soon as your legs hit the ground. “
  2. Take baby steps. “If this is a difficult task to accomplish every day, start by setting a goal of three days to begin with… and once you are able to achieve that goal successfully, add the other days. Smallidge explains.
  3. Do it at home. Getting to the gym or even outside adds additional hurdles (like extra time and braving the cold). “Try to practice at home in the morning to transition into the process,” says Pla. “Put on your favorite music, buy some weights, kettlebells or resistance bands and a mat and start moving. There are many online fitness apps or options that you can choose from.
  4. Think of exercise as a scheduled date. If you have to be at work or have a doctor’s appointment, you’re not going to take a nap. “Set aside an hour in the morning for your workout and make sure you show up,” says Pla.

But if it doesn’t work, don’t force

“While morning workouts certainly have their benefits, there is no better magical time to train. You don’t lose more weight or gain more muscle because of the time of day, ”Pla said. “The best time to exercise is when you exercise regularly. If you are not a morning person and don’t want to exercise in the morning, then go ahead, get that extra hour of sleep and do your workout at night.

If you’re working remotely, “consider exercising during lunchtime rather than in the evening before bed,” said Flynn-Evans.

Evening workouts should not affect the quality of sleep for those who sleep well or are used to exercising at night, Flynn-Evans said, but she suggests setting aside time afterwards to “decompress and relax. before going to bed and practice good sleep hygiene “.

Capitalize on morning energy with a cardio workout

“In general, exposure to light in the morning makes you fall asleep and wake up earlier. Exposing to bright light, ideally sunlight, in the morning can help you wake up faster. “says Flynn-Evans.

Use this wake-up and start energy to record a high-intensity morning workout.

“If your schedule allows it, you can still do your cardiovascular exercises in the morning and save the strength training for later in the day,” says Pla. But if you want to get your money’s worth, she recommends circuit workouts in the morning.

“It’s functional, where you can get both cardio and strength training in an effective, full body workout,” Pla said. “When I train my morning clients I always include strength training for multiple muscle groups with minimal rest, you can burn more calories during and after this period of intense exercise, as opposed to more cardio. slow and stable. This style of training is “a great option for anyone who doesn’t have a lot of time to train and adds variety to your workout,” she added.

Use dark hours as a cue for self-care activities like yoga and mediation

If you are able to tick your workout off the list first thing in the morning, use the time before bed to do a low impact restorative activity.

“Restful, low-impact activities like yoga, breathing exercises, and meditation before bed can be effective for some people in helping them sleep better,” said Flynn-Evans. “Studies have shown that the practice of yoga can help improve mental and emotional health and stress, relieve certain types of pain, and improve sleep. Deep breathing, often associated with meditation and yoga, can also be beneficial for healthy sleep, as deep breathing lowers your heart rate and relaxes the body to prepare for more restful sleep.

Relax with one of these restorative routines:


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