Health

Best night-time workouts

For those who would rather sweat it out after office hours, exercising at night has its benefits.

A 2013 study by the National Sleep Foundation in the US, for instance, found that there was no difference in sleep quality for people who worked out within four hours before bedtime.

In fact, it really did not matter what time of the day participants chose to exercise. Just exercising itself encouraged better sleep.

Night workouts can also improve your heart health.

A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that those who exercised at night lowered their blood pressure by 15 per cent more than those who worked out in the morning.

Here are the best after-work workouts.

BOXING

This full-body workout gives you the chance to literally punch away all the stress and frustration that is built up throughout the work day.

You will stand to gain stamina and strength as well as better balance, agility and coordination from a boxing session.

For maximum calorie burn, we recommend going for an aqua boxing class that is done high-intensity internal training style.

Instead of only doing rounds of jabs, hooks and uppercuts, you will also do bodyweight exercises and weight training. Expect to sweat buckets and feel like a million bucks afterwards.

YOGA

Calm your mind and body down at the same time by stretching it out in a yoga class.

The stress-relieving benefits of this age-old practice have long been documented.

Yoga helps to regulate the breath and increase bodily awareness; it interrupts our "worry cycle" and teaches us to practise self-compassion; all of these help in reducing anxiety.

Any style of yoga is beneficial, but hatha yoga is good to start with as the class is usually done at a slower pace.

Go for a class that incorporates breathing exercises and meditation as these aid in relaxation.

RUNNING

This is a solo activity that allows you to listen to music or a podcast or simply zone out as you move.

It is cooler at night, and running is relatively inexpensive as you pretty much just need a good pair of trainers.

Research supports night running too.

Scientists at the University of Chicago's research centre conducted trial runs and found that the body's metabolism adapted better to evening and night-time runs.

Post-run blood samples from participants also showed levels of harmful by-products of stress like cortisol were lower at night than in the day.

WEIGHT TRAINING

The main perk is your body will become more efficient at burning fat because you will gain more muscle.

It is worth incorporating into your fitness routine as you will look more toned overall.

Women are also four times more likely than men to develop osteoporosis and weight training helps with preventing that by strengthening your bones.

Weight training in the evening is ideal because your body is in a better position to do it.

Lifting weights is a type of anaerobic exercise, and according to research published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, anaerobic capacity is 7 per cent more in the evening than in the morning.

This article first appeared in Shape (www.shape.com.sg)

MEDICAL & HEALTH