By Gabe Sanders PhD, NSCA-CSCS
Some of us work during the day and then eat like maniacs at night. The nightly snacking and indulging can be detrimental to your weight loss or even weight maintenance goals. For instance, consuming cookies and other sugary sweets for snack at night can directly lead to stored fat in your body. A possible solution to combat eating and storing additional sugary calories can be found in a nightly exercise regimen.
A nightly dose of exercise can boost your metabolism
I know you may be thinking that exercise at night can be difficult for many reasons especially after you eat dinner. However, a nightly dose of exercise or physical activity may help you avoid eating additional calories and it can help you burn up some of the calories you’ve already consumed, which will boost your metabolism before you go to bed. Exercise stimulates the release of glucose (I like to call this usable sugar energy) from your liver.
This usable sugar energy is then used for energy by your working muscles during an exercise session. Your body’s use of glucose helps lower your blood sugar in a healthy way. It also increases your body’s fat breakdown for energy. Both of these physiological effects can further enhance your metabolism and help you loose weight, or at least maintain it.
A large amount of exercise at night is not needed
A significantly large amount of exercise at night is not needed. Engaging in roughly 20-30 minutes of nightly, moderate intensity exercise can help you achieve your weight loss or weight maintenance goals. For example, walking at a brisk pace, lightly jogging, or engaging in a slightly challenging strength training session can do the trick. As I previously mentioned, in addition to the caloric expenditure benefits, nightly exercise may help you feel less hungry as the night wears on.
Stimulating your body via exercise at night can initially wake you up but it will basically leave you feeling not hungry. After you exercise, drink a glass of water, take a shower and relax. Once you allow your body to calm down after an exercise session, you may find yourself sleeping better and feeling more refreshed in the morning.
I would suggest beginning a nightly exercise regimen from now on! If you like the benefits of nightly exercise, you may make a new years resolution to adopt this new lifestyle habit.
*For more examples of other variations/exercises look under Multimedia-VDF Exercise Tips
**Consult with a physician and/or medical healthcare provider before starting any exercise regimen
McArdle WD, Katch FI, Katch VL. 2013. Sports and Exercise Nutrition, 4th Edition. Lippincott Williams & Williams. Baltimore MD.