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Working out - with the lights out - refreshes a tired exercise routine
Written by Steve Wood, Courier-Post Staff
|Studies show that exercise performance is best in the early evening. Angela Rojas shines during a dark spinning class at Vitality Too in Collingswood. / Chris LaChall/Courier-Post|
For many, the toughest sit up is the one out of bed.
It‚Äôs also our entire morning exercise routine.
But by night, the slow grind of the workday awakens an evil energy, unleashing the rage and stress that begets car screaming, stupid arguments at home and burnt dinners.
Yeah, we‚Äôre stressed.
Channel your dark side into a productive night workout, and we‚Äôre not talking a reproductive one.
Since July, Angelina Taulane has taught a one-hour spinning class every Monday morning and evening at Vitality Too in Collingswood, a spinoff of Peter Pernice‚Äôs Collingswood flagship Vitality Fitness.
Each class has many as 16 people hop on stationary bikes, then spin and sweat in the glow of strobe lights, black lights and lava lamps. Here in the dark, they shine.
‚ÄúI like it in the dark,‚Äù Taulane says. ‚ÄúI think atmosphere is everything. I like to get lost in a ride and not worry about what facial expression you‚Äôre doing.‚Äù
Many spinning studios turn up the intensity by turning off the lights.
Studies have shown that exercise performance varies by time of day and is best in the early evening, when your heart rate is higher, your muscles are stretched and stronger, and your heart and lungs are more efficient, says Michael H. Smolensky, an expert in chronobiology, the study of the body clock.
‚ÄúMy personal approach is to train when your biological efficiency is greatest, which means late afternoon or early evening for most people,‚Äù Smolensky, a professor at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston, told the New York Times in 2009.
The late Thomas Reilly and Jim Waterhouse, professor of Liverpool John Moores University in England, also noted that athletes‚Äô best performances, including world records, were typically set at dusk.
At Vitality Too, spin class participants burn up to 1,000 calories
per hour. / Chris LaChall/Courier-Post
While most races still start in the cool morning, more have embraced the night.
Runners who registered for The Neon Vibe where scheduled to light up Camden on Saturday in fluorescent fashion, similar to those who streaked throughout Philadelphia recently before a lightning storm ironically canceled the Electric Run.
And on Sept. 20, Midnight Madness runners will glow around the 8.4-mile loop of Philadelphia‚Äôs Schuylkill River.
Midnight Madness mandates runners to wear headlamps and no earphones, but every night owl should take proper precautions, such as running with bright reflective clothes and against traffic.
Many spinning classes up the workout intensity by turning out
the lights. / Chris LaChall/Courier-Post
Inside Vitality Too, the studio spins soon after the light switch is off. Each member loses up to 1,000 calories per hour session, Pernice says.
‚ÄúYou‚Äôre on an object that‚Äôs going absolutely nowhere, but you can choose where you take your ride to,‚Äù Taulane says. ‚ÄúYou can be next to Lance Armstrong or next to a beginner.‚Äù
While good for spinning, darkness can‚Äôt elevate every exercise. Not safely, at least.
‚ÄúIf you‚Äôre on the bike, you‚Äôre stationary,‚Äù Pernice says. ‚ÄúThe chances of you falling are really slim to none. If you‚Äôre running in the dark on a treadmill, that could be a little bit of a hazard there.‚Äù
Taulane also steps into the dim dojo of Anjali Power Yoga in Westmont five days a week to practice hot yoga.
Whether spinning or posing, it‚Äôs easier to get lost in the activity while in the dark, Taulane says.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs about atmosphere,‚Äù she says. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs more about getting into your own zone . . . and flowing with the workout.‚Äù
Reach Steve Wood at (856) 486-2474 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @CP_SteveWood.
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