The Best Time to Workout If You Work a Night Shift

Working nontraditional hours may wreak havoc on your sleep, diet and exercise routine. If you work the night shift, it is important to find the workout time that fits into your schedule. For some, that may mean exercising right before work while for others it may mean working out before going to bed. It is also possible to workout during your shift. Try out all three to determine the time of day that is best for you.

A woman exercising in the morning before going to bed. (Image: 4maksym/iStock/Getty Images)

Before Work

If you feel tired, moody or drained before the night shift, exercise may do you more good than that large coffee or energy drink. According to MayoClinic.com, exercise fights stress and anxiety, improves your endurance, concentration and focus and boosts your energy and mood. Before you head to work, spend 30 minutes performing some form of cardiovascular activity such as swimming, bike riding or playing a sport. Ride your bike to work or take the stairs. You may notice improved alertness while on the job.

During Work

With family responsibilities, appointments, sleep, eating and other activities to care for first, it may be difficult to find the time to workout before the night shift. Instead of cruising the Internet or hanging out by the water cooler during breaks, spend that time on exercise. Keep a pair of light weights, a stability ball or resistance bands at your desk. Perform weight-bearing exercises like pushups or go for a walk around the facility. If your office provides a fitness center, use the recumbent stationary bike or lift weights for 10 minutes or so.

After Work

For some people, exercise increases their energy while for others it helps put them to sleep. If your shift ends around 6 a.m. or 7 a.m., wait until everyone is at school or at work before going to sleep. According to ConsumerHealthDigest.com, you reach the deepest, most restful stage of sleep within the first three hours of laying down. Spend some time working out or performing light stretches or yoga to help ease stress and tension from your work day then, once the house is quiet, head to bed.

Best Time

The best time of day to workout for night-shift workers is largely dependent on the preference of the individual. Spend one week working out before, during and after your shift and see which one is the best fit for you. No matter which time of day you choose, treat exercise as if it's an important appointment you cannot miss. Team up with a fellow late-night coworker to keep you motivated. In addition to exercise, eat a healthy, well-balanced diet and get plenty of sleep.

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