It's not always easy to find time in your schedule to lift weights, especially when you have a busy day at the office or young kids at home. Sometimes it gets to be 9 p.m. before you even have the chance. Although it may seem counterintuitive, it's really OK to start weightlifting before bed.
Trainers now agree that it's perfectly fine to lift weights before bed. The benefits include stress relief, improved sleep, preserved muscle mass and improvements in mood.
Find Your Ideal Time
It's not realistic, by any stretch of the imagination, to say that everyone should work out in the morning. Why? Doesn't the early bird always catch that worm? Not really. First of all, people keep very different schedules, and while one person may be at work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., another may be just starting at 10 p.m. This dated "early bird" methodology doesn't factor in our own personal chronotype either.
According to the American Council on Exercise, everyone has a different chronotype. Some people have what's called the "early" chronotype, which means they're perfectly fine waking up before sunrise. Early chronotype folks sometimes describe themselves as "morning people." Others embody the "normal" chronotype and naturally get up one or two hours after the sun.
There are also a significant number of people who fall into the "late" chronotype category. These are the night owls who stay up for several hours after the sun sets and go to bed late. Trainers now argue that people should pay closer attention to their personal chronotypes when selecting their workout times. In other words, try to fit what works best for you, not what everyone else says is right.
Benefits of Weightlifting at Night
The merits of lifting at night before bed have been debated over the years, but there are still some myths lingering that need to be debunked. The first is that exercising before bed may keep you up at night. This statement is simply not true and varies greatly from person to person. In fact, some people may find that lifting weights at night helps them blow off steam and therefore go to bed feeling more calm and relaxed. There are many more benefits of weightlifting at night:
Stress Relief: Pumping iron can be one of the most empowering forms of exercise. Try lifting weights after a tough day and notice how your stress levels change. This may also have a positive impact on your blood pressure.
Improved Sleep: According to the American College of Sports Medicine, chronic sleep disorders are estimated to affect up to 70 million people. This number is alarming knowing that poor sleep affects our ability to function throughout the day. The good news? Lifting weights before bed can actually improve restfulness at night, helping you fall asleep quicker and stay in deep sleep longer.
Preserved Muscle Mass: This holds true for weightlifting at any time of day, but it's important to note that adults have a real need to maintain regular resistance training over time, especially as we age. According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, declines in muscle mass begin around age 40 and accelerate after age 65. Even if it happens to be before bed, it's important to find time to lift weights regularly.
Improved Mood: Exercise, in general, creates an endorphin release in your body that naturally boosts your mood. Going to bed at night with a better mood can inspire confidence, create a sense of ease and even improve your relationships. Remember that a one-size-fits-all approach to lifting weights doesn't exist and there are many benefits of weightlifting at night.