New research shows running at night can have even greater health and performance benefits than exercising during the day.
1. It gets you ready for bed
The reason why many people feel more relaxed after running at night is because it eases your blood pressure and muscle tension. Running is one of the best cardiovascular exercise that you can do for your body. It elevates your heart rate and promotes circulation. Contrary to popular belief, that burst of endorphins you get from running won’t keep you up at night. In fact, in a recent study by the University of South Carolina, it was revealed that people who participated in one to two hours of high intensity exercise were able to have a deep sleep half an hour later.
2. Burn calories while you sleep
Skim the calories off your dinner. It’s not scientifically proven that eating a heavy dinner makes you gain weight. What matters is the amount of calories you’re consuming in the day. If you’re constantly eating at a caloric surplus then you’re bound to pack on a few extra pounds. However, running does help keep your metabolism running longer. Physical activity promotes digestion and absorption. When you run at night, you’re delaying the process of your metabolism giving it a couple of extra hours to process and digest the dinner you ate.
3. You’re more consistent
For most people, the snooze button is their greatest enemy in the morning. We go to sleep with the best of intentions, but when the sun comes up — well, that's a different story. Most people don't have the luxury of time to run in the morning because we're rushing to go to work or school. If you find that running in the morning is inconvenient and it makes you an inconsistent runner, make the switch! Think of a night run as your one opportunity to remove yourself from distractions and take time for you, and you'll be able to run interruption-free consistently.
By prioritizing your evening runs as 'me' time, you'll adopt a more consistent routine that won't be sabotaged by the snooze button. Constant running is key to achieving your goals, whether you're training for a marathon or getting ready for your first 5k.
4. Run faster at night without increased effort
When you’ve had the entire day to warm up and prepare yourself for the run, it won’t seem like so much like a chore. Morning runs work for some people but are highly ineffective for others. The reason for this is that your body, straight from the cold, goes straight into exercise. While some people have that motivation — good for them, it’s just not realistic for the rest of the world. After sitting around working eight hours straight, your body starts itching for movement and dynamics. Running in the evenings is perfect for people who want to stay in shape despite having a rigorous nine to five work or class schedule. You don’t have to exert nearly as much mental and physical effort as running in the morning because your body is up and ready to go!
5. More effective and automatic (for most people)
Human bodies are more like slow burners than blow torches. We need momentum to build up to heat us up and launch us forward. Seldom do people work at the flip of a switch and if they do, they went through plenty of training and mental reprogramming. You often see this in soldiers training for the military. But to the average Joe, it doesn’t exactly work the same way. According to Runner’s World, “Scientists have found that body temperature is at its lowest in the early hours of the morning and peaks in mid- to late-afternoon. It has also been shown that athletes perform better when body temperature is higher, which is perhaps why people found it so much easier to run in the evening.” Like we said, slow burners. Takes a while to get there but nonetheless effective.
6. Evening runs are a de-stressor
Some people experience what’s known as a “runner’s high”: a feeling of euphoria coupled with reduced anxiety and a lessened ability to feel pain.
These "feel good" hormones are released at low levels throughout the day, but according to doctors at the Mayo Clinic, running causes them to be released at higher levels. This means that after a long and stressful day, lacing up your shoes and hitting the pavement can help you feel better and serve as an outlet for releasing some of the tension and frustration you may be experiencing.
7. Evening runs can be a social activity
There’s an entire community that surrounds running! Download the Strava app and look for yourself! Despite being an individual sport, running has quite a supportive community. You don’t have to be around other runners to “feel the love.” Join some online groups and pull your motivation from there! Human beings function on building relations and connections with other people. When you form a bond with other runners, it helps you feel less lonely.
8. Leeway for snacking at night
Guilty no more when you’re caught midnight snacking! Your body needs to burn energy from somewhere and it shouldn’t be your muscles. Look into your macros and load up accordingly. Carbs are not the enemy, in fact, they could be your best friend. Like machines, our bodies run on fuel. If you run on an empty tank, you’ll stop in the middle of nowhere. Not eating before working out is a myth. In fact, doctors advise against working out on an empty stomach. Carbohydrates turn into sugars and your body pulls that energy from the glucose. Look for carbs with low glycemic index (GI) so they burn slowly and your energy is sustained longer. After running, eat food rich in protein, the building blocks of the body. Muscles feed off protein, they need them to repair the microtears caused by exercising.
9. Kiss attempting to be a morning person goodbye
Early bird, night owl – why are all these references to birds? Doesn’t matter, it’s all the same. The time of day doesn’t matter. It’s about your execution and how consistent you are. Plus, there’s not nearly as much judgement as you think there is by pedestrians. Between 8 am rush hour and 5 pm rush hour, choose the lesser evil. Pedestrians are a lot more forgiving in the evening because they’re on their way home.
Stay safe in limited visibility
High visibility clothing is a necessity for nighttime running. It doesn’t have to be bulky or uncomfortable. In fact, wearing LED Reflective Belt is quite stylish! This LED Belt gives you 360 degrees of visibility. It's 100 times safer than any other alternative because it reflects oncoming light AND illuminates. There is no way to overlook anyone wearing this. Vehicles will see you well in advance all the time.
Ditch your headphones and listen to nature instead
How many times have people gotten into an accident because they didn’t hear the oncoming traffic? There is a fair amount of people that were brought to the emergency room because of it. Being one with nature isn’t cliché. People need to do more of it. Listen to the sound of the trees and the traffic. Running will make you feel more connected to your surroundings and it will help you discover new routes!
Keep things interesting, find new routes
Don’t make running feel like a routine. You need to keep things exciting for you to keep going. Allow yourself to get lost (but keep your phone GPS on hand). During your runs, you could discover a quaint little café or bookstore that you’ll want to explore one day. Daily life has made us so used to the city you’re living in. Every turn is a new adventure. There’s excitement waiting at the corner.
If you’re a beginner, run in a group
Yes, running is an individual sport. But if the idea of running on your own intimidates you, find a group and work your way down. Ladies in particular, if it helps you feel safer, find people to run with. When you’re more comfortable with breaking away from the group, take a route that you’re familiar with.
Bring identification with you at all times
Whether it’s your driver’s license or a medical ID bracelet, it will help first respondents react accordingly. Also, make sure it’s in a place that’s accessible like in your front pocket or inside one of these LED Waist Pack Belts!
Most runners will agree that it’s distracting to have your phone flopping about in a pocket or waist pack. That’s why this LED Waist Pack Belt includes two optional belt clips for you to securely fasten your workout belt in place. How’s that for comfort?
2019 is almost over, get ahead on your new year’s resolution by running into the new year!