You want to get serious about creating a daily fitness routine, but maybe you’re just not a morning person.
If exercising before you begin the day isn’t an option, creating an evening exercise routine is a good alternative that will help your body feel its best.
However, many people use bedtime as an excuse to avoid an evening workout, worried that exercising before bed will negatively affect your sleep. But it doesn’t have to!
Here are five tips for creating an effective evening workout routine without sacrificing a good night’s sleep.
1. Have a plan
Having a plan can set you for success in creating your daily workout routine. Knowing what workout program or exercise you plan to do each evening helps you jump right in instead of wasting time trying to get it all together.
Vigorous activities can stimulate your nervous system and heart rate, making it difficult to fall asleep. On the other hand, light to moderate-intensity exercise can help you fall asleep faster and get better quality sleep.1
If cardio is your thing, make sure you balance it with some less vigorous movements, like lifting weights and stretching to help your body settle down easier post-workout.
Many people struggle with a lack of motivation and following through with their evening workout routine, especially when the couch seems so inviting after a long day. Planning can help ensure you get your daily exercise.
For example, if you plan to exercise after work, it may help to change into your workout clothes before you leave the office. This creates one less hurtle for you to overcome when it’s time to exercise.
What are the factors that distract or demotivate you? What can you do to avoid them?
2. Stay hydrated
Whether you’re spending your day wrangling kids or sitting in the office, you might forget to drink enough water, which can seriously impact your evening workout.
Make sure you’re drinking water throughout the day to avoid cramping, a lack of energy, or other issues caused by dehydration. You can find some more tips for staying hydrated here.
3. Eat Dinner
Many people wonder about eating before a workout, especially when it comes to an evening fitness routine.
You can eat dinner before or after a workout, but you still need to be intentional about when (and what) you eat to maximize your evening routine.
If you eat dinner before your workout, try to eat 1-3 hours before your workout. If you choose to eat dinner after your workout, allow yourself at least 45-60 minutes for proper digestion prior to sleep or reduce your portion size.
Make sure you eat a good amount of protein, carbs, and some fat to help your body recover and your muscles grow.
4. Shower post-workout
Depending on how late in the day you workout, you may be tempted to just hop into bed after you exercise. However, skipping the shower might make sleep more difficult.
Showering after a workout helps your muscles recover and helps your body relax.2 Changing out of your workout clothes before bed also signals to your body that it is time to wind-down for the day.
If possible, wait 20-30 minutes after your workout before showering to allow your body to cool down a bit.
5. Take some time to wind-down
After an evening workout, it’s important to take the time to adequately relax not only to ensure a good night’s sleep but also to help your body recover and grow stronger.
Having a healthy bedtime routine will help this process. Opt for herbal tea instead of a glass of wine, and a good book instead of scrolling on your phone to really help your body ease into sleep.
Setting aside time for prayer and meditation in the evening before bed can also help calm your mind as well as your body.
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