About the Author
Freelance writer Margaret H. Evans lives in Bountiful, Utah, with her husband and four children. She has been writing and editing professionally since 1989. Her work has appeared in newspapers, magazines and online.
Finding time to exercise can be a challenge, especially during the winter months, when darkness falls early. It's not like the summer, when you can enjoy a brisk after-dinner walk, jog or bike ride in the waning sunshine.
If you can't (or don't want to) get up early to exercise, it is still possible to work out at night. Of course, you'll want to keep some things in mind in order to do it safely.
Get a BuddyThere's safety in numbers, especially when it comes to exercising at night. To stay safe, bring along a friend. Exercising with someone else can also mean more fun and motivation. Go with a close friend, significant other, or pull together a group of from your neighborhood--the more the merrier. Plus, if you have a big group, even if some can't make it one night, you'll always have someone to accompany you. Exercising with others is a great way to cultivate friendships.
Choose Wisely When exercising at night, it's always a good idea to stick to well-lit, populated areas--even when you're with a buddy. Know your surroundings and remain aware of what's going on around you while you're working out. Find out if your local school or park has a track or tennis court that's well-lit (and well-populated) in the evenings. Or&nbsp; consider power walking in a shopping mall.
See and Be Seen Make sure you can see where you're going when you're exercising at night. You don't want to jog into a pothole or trip over curbs. Even if there are streetlights, you might want to bring along a small flashlight to illuminate your way. Head lamps are good too. Don't worry about the dork-factor. Just think safety first, strap that light to your head and go.
You also want to make sure that drivers and others can see you. You can do this by attaching reflectors to your clothing. Always wear light-colored clothing when jogging, walking or biking at night. You can also purchase workout clothes that have reflective properties, or buy a reflective vest-these are inexpensive and can be purchased at Army-Navy and hardware stores for little money.
Leave a Message Whenever you leave to work out at night, make sure someone knows where you're going and when to expect you back. It's also a good idea to bring a cell phone so you'll have a way to contact help in case of an emergency or injury. Make sure you have identification on you, as well, in case you're hurt and unable to communicate with those who come to your aid. If you have any medical conditions that require special attention, always wear a medical alert tag or carry an ID card.
Stay at Home If working outdoors isn't feasible or safe, you can always exercise without even leaving your house. You can get a good workout from any numbers of DVDs available for sale. Many libraries offer DVDs for checkout, which makes it possible to try out different ones for free. That way, you'll never get bored by your workout. Or, use a treadmill, elliptical or exercise bike. Used ones can be purchased from many a weekend warrior who bought them on a whim and barely used them.
In recent years, more and more 24-hour gyms have been popping up all over the country. Find one in your area and you can work out in a safe, well-lit environment any time of the day or night.
If night time is the right time for you to exercise, there is a way make it happen. Just set a routine and stick to it. But be sure to do it safely.