How to cope with shift work and exercise
Determining the best time to exercise and work out when doing shift work can be difficult and is largely dependent on the individual’s preference. For some, exercising before work is the easiest, whilst for others working out before sleep is preferred . Mild to moderate physical exercise is preferred over intensive training to reduce fatigue and induce restful sleep. Some people say exercise increases their energy levels whilst for others it tires them out, so it really depends on your preferences and how your body responds to exercise to decide on the best routine for you. For Day Shift workers, exercise generally should take place after the shift, leaving a minimum of two hours between exercise and sleep for the body to recuperate. Night shift workers should follow a similar protocol exercising after work before a nap or the main sleep period. If time and fatigue are an issue and you need to work out immediately before bed, it should be light, mild exercise as to not interfere with sleep.
*Remember that any exercise is better than none at all
Best tips for exercising
- walking back to camp rather than catching the bus at the end of the shift.
- spending a good half hour doing some light weights in the gym.
- Spending time on the treadmill and maybe the rowing machine.
- Swimming, cycling and other aerobic exercise are great for cardiovascular fitness if there are facilities available on site.
- Group sports are good for both the body and the soul.
- Exercising before you eat is best.