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It used to be that fitness experts advised morning or afternoon workouts only. The thinking was exercise too close to bedtimemade for restless, interrupted sleep. But a recent study found that subjects who exercised for 35 minutes just before going to bed slept just as well as those who pushed their fitness to the early morning or after-work hours. So, if you’re not working out due to late commutes or fear of insomnia, take note: There are plenty of exercises and routines you can incorporate into your night routine that will keep you fit while holding on to your eight-plus hours of shut-eye.
If you want to stay close to home, why not walk the stairs in your house, your apartment building or even at a nearby (well-lit) park. Strap on your fitness pedometer or set a goal of 500 stair steps every night. You’ll build leg strength, get your heart going and work up a little nighttime sweat.
Squats are a go-anywhere exercise with a lot of impact. Before tucking in, stand next to your bed and do 100. Once that gets too easy, grab something heavy and weigh down your sets. Work up to 300 and finish by dropping your tired body on the bed.
Jump squats require a little more room and some tolerant downstairs neighbors. They’re also a great treat for legs. Work up to three sets of 50. Go deep into the squat for full effect. Wear your stretchiest pajamas to get as low as you can.
Do three sets of walking lunges from the bathroom to your bedroom and back. You can hold your arms in the air for good form, or drop one and brush your teeth while getting through your reps.
KETTLEBELLS AND CROSS FIT
People into cross fit often take their workouts to the gym. If your gym keeps late hours, you can, too. If not, do cross fit at home. Invest in a kettlebell (one’s actually enough for your workouts!) and do your burpees, deadlifts, air squats and swings. Even without trainer support, you’ll get in a good workout and sleep well.
Strength training not only builds and tones muscles, but it also speeds up weight loss if that’s what you’re looking to do. Home weightlifting, especially if you’re just starting out, doesn’t require much more than some arm weights and whatever heavy objects feel challenging but comfortable to hold. Store your weights under the bed, and do arms reps or weighted crunches before cashing out for the night.
Planks are like the all-around exercise. They tone arms and legs, and improve balance by strengthening your core. Start with 30-second planks and work up to three minutes. Put on your favorite song, turn your mind inward and hold your form. Do them right before getting into bed and you’ll be spent. A good night’s sleep is the payoff.
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