Are you a lark or an owl? No, don’t worry, you haven’t accidentally clicked on a link for a bird dating site. It’s an entirely straightforward question phrased in a different way. The real question is “Do you prefer the morning or the evening?”. Pretty much everyone can immediately answer this question by sorting themselves into one of the two groups. The larks wake up full of energy, ready to face the day. The owls, meanwhile, take a while to get going but finish strongly.
For those of us who fall into the owl category, it can sometimes seem like things are set up for the larks. Although 24-hour stores are now a thing, a majority of places still shut around 5 pm, or a couple of hours later. Watch any ad on TV and it shows things happening during the day. The only ads set at night are the ones trying to sell your home insurance and dating services. We’re not all burglars and single!
Of course, there are plenty of people who would say that the night owl community have an inflated sense of self-importance. It’s true that a lot of us like to think of ourselves as intellectual, we’re more likely to be introverted and we aren’t our best selves in the mornings. But it can still feel like we’re being shunted to the side when you think of how quiet things get at night.
For example, you can easily get to feeling that you have to live in silence. Most people are in bed when you’re hitting your stride. And if you’re at all interested in keeping in shape – which many of us are – it can feel like you can’t work out because you’re scared to wake people. So it’s time to look at the ways night owls can keep fit and not worry about bothering the larks.
- Find A 24-Hour Gym Near You
We all have busy lifestyles, and some of us work every weekday from morning until evening. If you value your weekend time with the kids, you won’t want to work out then. So you can often feel like there is no time to fit in a workout, especially if your gym closes at night. Increasingly, gym chains and owners are becoming aware of this and more and more of them are staying open 24 hours.
One word of advice on this, though, is to schedule your workouts depending on when bedtime is. Ideally, you want to be through and home at least 90 minutes before bedtime. Otherwise, adrenaline and flashing lights will have your brain too hopped up to get the proper, restful sleep it needs. There’s a difference between being a night owl and an insomniac, even if some of us are both.
- Go For A Night Run
This one obviously comes with all sorts of caveats. You do need to make sure that you are safe because the cover of darkness is a lot of unpleasant people’s best friend. So, if you aren’t the only night owl in your circle of friends, plan a run with someone else. As predatory as some criminals are, they’re not going to be keen on attacking two people who are into personal fitness.
Secondly, the darkness presents another problem; it’s hard to see you. Now, if you have muggers in mind that’s good news, but not so great if you’re running anywhere near a road. It’s wise to suit up with some high-visibility clothing. Until you’ve driven late at night, you really don’t appreciate how late drivers see people who are dressed in dark clothing. Be safe, be seen.
Finally, be considerate when choosing your route. If you live somewhere with a lot of people around, consider how much noise you may make when running. If there’s a chance of you keeping people awake by pounding the pavement, go somewhere else for your run. No point in staying fit if your neighbors all hate you.
- If You’re Going To Exercise Indoors, Pick Your Workout Wisely
Some of us don’t want to exercise outside the home if at all possible – and this does make sense, as night owls are more likely to be introverts. If you must work out at home, and you share your house with a lark, be respectful. The same goes if the walls between you and your neighbor are thin. If you’re working out to the Tone It Up program or similar, you can have the exercise videos on, but keep the sound low or on mute. If you need music to work out to, headphones exist.
It’s also a good idea to keep night-time workouts simple. Routines that call for a lot of equipment are probably best left for free time during the day. Noise at night-time is like red dye in a white wash. It only takes a little bit to disrupt the whole thing. Moving an exercise bike, or lifting weights, doesn’t seem noisy at midday. At midnight it sounds like a jazz band is tuning up in your basement.
- Monitor Your Water Intake
You obviously need to stay hydrated when exercising. That’s an unbreakable rule. However, you also need to remember that all that water has to go somewhere. The closer you get to bedtime, the less freedom you have to drink a lot of water. Firstly, because the fuller and more bloated you feel the harder it is to sleep. Secondly, because you’re not going to have a restful night if you keep getting up to pee. Stay topped up, but don’t guzzle.
It’s not impossible to be a night-owl and a fitness fanatic at the same time. You just need to be aware of the adjustments you’ll need to make to the usual routine. There are distinct advantages to working out at night – if you’ve spent your energy you’re likely to sleep more soundly, for one. But stay respectful of other people’s peace and quiet, your own safety and your sleep hygiene. Keep these in mind and your exercise routine will work like a charm.