Running is the easiest way to stay fit without buying home gym equipment or signing up for a membership. We're three months into 2023, so it's time to check if you stayed true to your New Year's Resolution. 48% of Americans say they want to exercise more, but it can be hard to incorporate exercise into your routine.
Most people's days start early, leaving little to no time to squeeze in a morning jog. If this is your problem, consider running at night. In some cases, nighttime running can be more beneficial than running during the day.
Read on to find out the benefits of running at night.
No More Snoozing
The first day is often the hardest part of a fitness journey. How many times have you hit the snooze button when you decided to go running the night before? Many Americans get up extra early to prepare for work or school and beat the morning traffic.
With morning runs, you may have to sacrifice your sleep schedule or your regular routine. Running at night offers you a little more flexibility. You can relax and take your time, knowing you don't have to worry about making breakfast or being late for work.
A direct side-effect is that you can be more consistent. This gives you a stronger foundation to achieve your fitness goals.
Have you ever experienced runner's high? Running is an excellent way to unwind after a long day. When you run, your brain releases a flood of feel-good chemicals into your blood.
These endorphins can help relieve stress and even boost your mood. Running during the day may not be possible for some, so running at night might be your only option to get the stress relief you need.
Our core body temperatures stay low in the morning. This means your muscles are stiffer, and your body won't be able to provide sufficient power output. You may have a harder time breathing because your oxygen intake and outflow are also low.
All of this combined can make you more prone to injury. The best time to run is when your body is at its peak core temperature, which is usually between 4 to 7 PM.
With a higher core temperature, you have better blood flow. Your muscles and joints are more warmed up and ready to go. This enables you to run safer and faster without too much extra effort.
Get Better Sleep Quality
A third of American adults struggle with sleep. Stress is the main culprit for sleep disorders, but running at night can help. The first thing you to remember is you need to time it right.
Exercising an hour before bed can negatively impact your sleep patterns. Go for your nighttime runs a few hours before you usually go to sleep.
Thanks to the endorphins, your body will achieve a deeper slumber. After sweating out the stress from the day, you'll also find it much easier to fall asleep. You can also take a quick warm bath or shower before bed to wind down.
Meditate While Running
Most people run with music or a podcast playing from their earbuds. However, if you start running at night, we urge you to try meditative running. Meditation is a great way to combat symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to sit still in a candle-lit room to meditate. When running, you become more focused on your breathing and where you're going. This gives you a quiet headspace to meditate.
Running at night offers more serenity because there's less traffic and people bustling around. Concentrate on your heartbeat and breathing rhythm. This will allow you to achieve a meditative state. But always be aware of your surroundings and keep your earbuds at a volume where you can hear external noises.
Your Body is Better Prepared
Fueling yourself for morning runs can be challenging for beginner runners. Aside from waking up earlier than you're used to, you may need to skip breakfast. Exercising on an empty stomach is uncomfortable for some.
Running at night allows your body to be better prepared. Your body will have the chance to warm up and stretch as you go about your daily routine. You also don't have to worry about running while hungry because your body has had time to eat and digest throughout the day.
This advantage also enables you to plan healthier meals during the day. You can use this opportunity to try out some healthier recipes.
Enjoy Cooler Temperatures
Morning runners might be able to enjoy the sunrise, but nighttime runners can bathe under the stars and moonlight. In addition, running at night allows you to enjoy cooler temperatures.
If you've ever run during the day when the sun is at its peak, you may have experienced getting so hot you feel like you're going to pass out. The cool evening air offers some relief compared to the high humidity of the day.
Night Running Safety
Running at night gives you a lot more freedom to actually enjoy your runs. However, it can also be dangerous if you don't know what to look out for. Safety should always be your priority, so here are some tips to stay safe while running.
Wear Reflective Clothing
Jogging at night allows you to enjoy less traffic. However, that doesn't mean you shouldn't worry about cars or motorcycles. Bikes and cars must be able to see you, especially when crossing the road.
Wear high-visibility clothes like a reflective jacket or windbreaker. This ensures that cars and motorcycles are aware of your presence and will not accidentally hit you. It's also best to run against traffic so cars can't sneak up behind you.
Wear a Headlamp
Even if the roads you run on are well-lit, we recommend wearing a headlamp. Headlamps increase your visibility to drivers and allow you to see better. This helps you to navigate uneven surfaces and avoid dangerous dips in the road.
Get a Running Buddy
Invite a friend or family member to accompany you whenever you go for a run. There's always safety in numbers, and you never want to risk being alone at night.
People have more free time at night, which means you can group up with your friends and go running like you always talked about.
If you have a dog, you can also bring them with you. Running is the perfect opportunity for your best canine friend to get the exercise they need.
Tell Someone Where You're Going
Whether you're running alone or with a buddy, it's essential to let someone know where you're going. Ensure to inform a trusted person of your route and when you'll expect to get home. The last thing you want is to get hurt and be far from help.
If you don't get home on time, at least one person knows where you last were and can inform the proper authorities. You can also use safety tracking apps to share your live location.
Skip the Music
Music can help you get pumped up for your run, but it might be better to ditch the headphones. When running at night, you need to be aware of your surroundings. Wearing earphones or a headset can make you look distracted and an easier target for people with malicious intent.
If you must listen to music, use only one earbud or keep the volume low. This makes you more aware of passing cars or people.
Choose a Safe and Familiar Route
Night running is not the best time to explore or traverse new trails or roads. Stick with routes you're familiar with and neighborhoods you feel safe in.
We do not recommend running on trails at night as it's easy to get lost among the trees. There's also a higher possibility of tripping on a root or fallen branch.
Switching up your routes is also a good idea as long as you know where you're going. This can help deter suspicious people from tracking you.
Trust Your Instincts
Human instinct is much stronger than people think. If you feel like something is wrong, listen to your gut and change course or forgo the run. Text a friend and stay alert of your surroundings.
Bring Self-Defense Tools
If the worst happens, you want to be able to defend yourself. Bring a can of mace or a taser to give yourself peace of mind while running at night.
How to Start Running
Starting is always the hardest part of getting into an exercise routine. If you're a beginner runner, don't be afraid to start slow. Put on some comfortable running shoes and start with a brisk walk.
Once you're more comfortable, you can break into a slow jog. Remember, little progress is progress nonetheless. Keep at it, and soon, you'll start enjoying the benefits of running.
Everything You Need to Know About Running at Night
Running at night is perfect for night owls and people who are too busy during the day. Choose a safe route, call a friend, and don't forget to stay consistent if you want to see results.
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