Irregular work hours or working in shifts duties should not affect your workout routine.
What is the right time to exercise for fitness? Does a morning session give the best result or a relaxed session in the evening ? Our elders recommended getting up early, exercising and eating nutritious food so that one stays activated all day.
As lifestyles change as do working hours, these maxims may not hold good in present times. It also depends on circadian rhythm or body clock. Some people are night owls who like to sweat it out during late evenings and feel lazy in the morning whereas some are early birds who like to start their day with a good work out. The committed ones, however, like to sweat it out any time of the day depending on the availability of time.The truth is that there is no time of the day that can be termed best to exercise as everyone’s body is different. One must choose a time of the day one can stick to, so that it becomes a habit.
Many people who work in multiple shifts or have irregular work hours may not be able to stick to one time, hence it becomes important that one exercises as and when one can find time and not wait for any particular time of the day to get going.The body clock plays an important role especially when one is working in multiple shifts. One must follow the body’s inner clock to be able to exercise well. A good diet and sleeping patterns are the two other important factors that keep one motivated; hence, giving equal importance to both is a vital requirement. Set a number of hours for exercise every week, one may divide these hours as to how one is placed during the week. This helps one to stick to the time devoted to exercise.
Body temperature also plays an important role to get one ready to exercise. A cold body leaves muscles stiff and is more prone to injuries whereas a good warm-up allows muscles to stretch better. Usually body temperature increases during the day that allows for increased endurance and enhanced performance. One must warm-up well before starting exercising, especially if done during the morning.
Those working in shifts should try to find time before leaving for work or after their shift ends. If one is working a few days on longer shifts with few days off, in between, combining an intense strength building routine on ‘off days’ with light exercise routines on long shift days can help one stick better to the schedule. If regularly going to the gym is not possible, opt for a simple workout at home before or after working hours.
For a simple workout at home, do some body weight exercises. Have some equipment at home that is easy to use such as a theraband or simple weights to perform basic exercises. A sample circuit can be as below:
n Body weight push-ups
n Bicep curls using therabands.
n Body weight squats
n Climbing stairs
Perform first exercise for 30 seconds followed by 15 seconds break. Perform second exercise for next 30 seconds followed by 15 seconds break and continue until the sixth exercise. Once all exercises are performed one circuit will be completed; take a 3-minute break. Opt for 3 to 4 circuits. Modify as per the conditioning level.
Also remember to warm up and stretch well before exercising and cooling off after the workout with some stretches.
Small changes in daily habits like climbing stairs instead of taking an elevator, walking instead of driving, replacing sugary drinks with green tea, black coffee, etc. can go a long way in keeping the body fit.
To conclude what is most important is sticking to an exercise schedule no matter what the time of the day it is. Sticking to a regular workout routine gives one the desired results. It is better to have a 20-minute workout schedule daily then one hour session on alternate days.
Working out at least six days a week can offset many problems that can arise from working irregular hours. So put on those running shoes no matter what time of the day or night it is.