Most people are more active in the summer. The longer days make it easy to want to get outside and do things less accessible at other times in the year. Somehow, that leads to people being more active during summer nights, too. If you think about a typical summer night vs. a winter night, there's a chance you stay up later and participate in more activities.
You can steer into that and make the most of nighttime workouts in the summer. Working out at night lets you beat the summer heat. It also enables you to take advantage of the almost magical quality of a great summer night. Listed below are nine workouts that are ideal for a midsummer night.
Running and walking
Whether you run, walk, or hike, summer evenings and nights are great opportunities to get outside and enjoy the warm season. Depending on where you live, this might be the only viable time to be outside during peak summer (we're looking at you, Arizona). Regardless, a nighttime jog or walk can feel great, and it's a lot easier to schedule than getting up before an early sunrise just to get in a little cardio.
There is one catch to nighttime running, and it applies to most of these exercises. If you're going to get your heart rate up, some experts say you need to give yourself a solid 90 minutes to cool and calm down before you can sleep.
Yoga is one of the other top nighttime workouts. You can break a sweat or keep it gentle before bed. Regardless of intensity, yoga can help you reach a good physical and mental state for going to bed. It can help you sleep better.
Even if you aren't doing it for sleep, taking your mat into the backyard to enjoy a nice summer evening is never a bad idea. You can soak in the late nights with mindfulness and fitness. It's a win-win. (Or a zen-zen.)
Most of you know what CrossFit is, but it's a branded workout style that is all about movement and high intensity for those who don't. Whether or not you follow the official branded workouts, you can adopt the style to your evening workout sessions.
The idea is to go hard, use compound movements and change it up. These are hard workouts, and doing them in the summertime at night is the best way to stay cool and keep a steady supply of fresh air. You can enjoy the workout more.
We mentioned earlier that getting your heart rate up can make it hard to sleep. CrossFit workouts are one of two exceptions to that rule (on this list). They tend to be so intense that you'll be able to sleep just fine after you cool down and shower.
Lifting has long been one of the best and most important ways to exercise. The benefits of lifting are almost endless. If you're serious about fitness, you need to include weights in your regime.
So, why lift at night? Well, it's more comfortable than sitting in a stuffy gym or garage while you go hard. You can put your weight bench in the back and get after it. You get to enjoy more privacy, the convenience of a workout at home, and you get to appreciate the magic of a nice summer evening. It's both motivating and pleasant.
Pick-up sports are a great way to get exercise. If you work a semi-normal schedule, your only opportunities to play such sports will be nights and weekends. It's why there are so many summer leagues in pretty much every city. You can join a basketball league, play some softball, pick up a game of tennis or go with any other sport.
Your nighttime activity will be good for you, and in the summer, it's the best time to try and keep up with sports anyway. Make the most of it.
Most people think of swimming as a daytime activity for the summer. We don't want to spoil anyone's fun, but if you're looking to swim laps and get a workout, the night will often be better for you — especially during the summer.
There are two big reasons for this. First, everyone else is in the pool during the day. They're trying to escape the heat and have fun. If you want to dodge that crowd, an after-dark workout might be your best bet.
The second advantage to swimming at night is the absence of scorching sunlight. You don't have to worry about sunburns, so you can skip sunblock or other preparations and get right to the swimming.
HIIT is an acronym for high-intensity interval training. It's one of the most popular and proven ways to get fit that anyone can name.
In more detail, the idea is to do an exercise as intensely as you possibly can for a short period and then rest. You rinse and repeat until the session is finished.
The easiest example is running. After you warm up, you sprint — as hard as you can without hurting yourself — for 30 seconds. You then drop to a light jog or brisk walk for 60 seconds. Repeat that process again and again until you're done.
HIIT workouts are ideal at night because you're going to work up an intense sweat. You can do HIIT workouts in your backyard, on the running path, or wherever else you like. The best part is that doing these workouts at night will help you sleep; this is the other form of exercise we're listing that is so intense that it puts you to bed when you're done.
There are so many exercises and workout programs, but you don't have to buy into one to work on your fitness. One of the best workouts for a summer night is going through the basics. Do some situps or crunches, push-ups, and squats. Three sets of each on a regular rotation will help you with baseline fitness. You can do these anywhere, and they usually won't get your heart rate up enough to interrupt sleep.
A basic workout is a great way to work out some of the stress of a day and reset before you go to bed. You don't have to work out right before bedtime, but an evening workout has these benefits.
The last thing we're going to mention is stretching. Stretching typically isn't considered a total workout, but it's certainly a major part of fitness. It's also an excellent practice to do before bed. Like yoga, stretching can help put your body in a relaxed state primed for good sleep. And doing it on a balcony or patio gives it a magical aspect. You can work out some aches or physical stress from the day, and you can stretch anywhere you like. Having a good stretch before bed will only improve your health and make you feel better in general.