I need to do some excercise before bed, I think
November 26, 2020 8:33 AM   Subscribe

Right now I'm under homeworking and homeschooling pressure. While I don't spend any time thinking about work once I'm off the clock, my body hasn't gotten the message. It takes me more than an hour to fall asleep because I'm still tense, my heart is beating faster etc. I would like to get the stress response out of my system by doing something with my body. Please help me, who generally dislikes excercise, find three or four things I can do to help my body reset so I can settle down to sleep?

I really don't like excercise, to the point that I just can't deal with researching and coming up with a plan. I would really appreciate it if you helped me by giving me some simple options.

Things I can do in 10-15 minutes, is that realistic?

I used to at least spend some time walking during my daily commute, now that's not possible.

(Also, please don't suggest sex, I'm feeling that even less right now!)

Thank you!
posted by Omnomnom to Health & Fitness (20 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Yoga With Adriene has a few night time yoga routines: 20 minutes, 12 minutes, 7 minutes. They're really relaxing and I find that they do help me get ready for sleep, especially if I do them regularly!
posted by thebots at 8:46 AM on November 26, 2020 [15 favorites]

I really like Bodyfit by Amy. She has a lot of 10-12 minute routines on her YouTube channel. Lots of them require no equipment. One thing I like about her workouts is that she offers lots of different options for each exercise, and specifically mentions ways to modify her workouts for different bodies.
posted by k8lin at 8:46 AM on November 26, 2020

Another quick fix is 30 jumping jacks, 2-3 minutes (or more if you can manage) of skipping rope. Both will raise your heart rate fast and may help your body reset. I would do that at the end of work, not right up against bedtime.
posted by warriorqueen at 8:52 AM on November 26, 2020

Exercise helps me sleep, so I think this is a great idea. BUT exercise also makes me feel "up" so it can be hard to sleep immediately afterwards.

Exercising in the afternoon or early evening (if you can take a 15-20 minute break during your day) might be better, combined with a 5-10 minute stretching or very light yoga before bed.

Yoga with Adriene is fantastic, she has lots of different options at different energy levels.
posted by dazedandconfused at 8:56 AM on November 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

Jump rope
posted by aniola at 9:03 AM on November 26, 2020

You could try these light stretches and exercises from NYT
posted by eyeball at 9:18 AM on November 26, 2020

I also do 10 to 15 minutes of yoga at night (I use the Gaiam app, the beginner classes are very beginner and the 10-minute, "Quick Fix" routines are available without a subscription). I've also done "7 minute" workouts (many apps).

I also have an entire sleep routine of standing bed time, no screen time an hour before, 1mg melatonin, no social media in the evenings, etc, etc, etc.

One thing that helped us at the beginning of quarantine was going for a walk when the spouse finished their workday. Time to unwind and marks post-work time distinctly.

(I also violate my sleep routine once a week. I know that's an example of asserting control via bed time.)
posted by JawnBigboote at 9:48 AM on November 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

I really like this stretching routine on days I’ve been sitting too much. 18 minutes, I find the narration good enough that after a few goes I don’t need the video at all, and it’s not exciting so I can do it before bed.
posted by clew at 10:13 AM on November 26, 2020

I read an article about how we used to unwind from work while commuting. If you have a car, you could go for a 15-20 minute drive after work. I've been doing this just to keep the battery charged.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 10:18 AM on November 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

I am also a fan of doing light exercise at night. I've just decided to leave my yoga mat out all the time next to my TV, and I'll do some stretching, knee lifts, situps, etc. Because the mat is always there and ready, I haven't been doing any actual routine and just moving around on the mat when I start to feel tense at night.
posted by JZig at 10:18 AM on November 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

This Fitness Blender stretching routine clocks in at 28 minutes, but is a nice progression from standing to sitting to laying in bed designed to help you fall asleep. Helps calm a buzzing brain and relax the body.
posted by sk932 at 10:33 AM on November 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

I’ve been using an indoor rowing machine while watching Netflix- that has helped me get sleepy at night for sure.
posted by oceanjesse at 10:43 AM on November 26, 2020

Gaming with VR can be both immersive (you forget what else is happening), and many games are active as you're moving your arms in parts of controls. Quest 2's are $300 USD, and Synth Riders is $25 (and likely on sale for $30-40% off tomorrow). Synth Riders has a dancy fun feel; lots of arm movements, and some squating/dodges.

While that's a bit of a hefty price tag, most retail locations in the US allow you to return within 30 days. If you play a game for less than 2 hours (and it's within 14 days of purchasing the game) you can also get a refund.
posted by nobeagle at 10:59 AM on November 26, 2020

Some good suggestions here, but just be careful about impact exercise if your body is not used to it. I'm a cycling 30km a day + pilates person, but I hurt my feet learning to jump rope during lock down.

The advantage of not having exercised much though is that a small amount will benefit you.
posted by BrStekker at 11:27 AM on November 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

I like the first 15 min or so of this kickboxing workout on YouTube. I'm not a big fan of exercising, but somehow practicing punching and kicking seems interesting.
posted by ellerhodes at 11:45 AM on November 26, 2020

Can you go for a walk after work, even around your neighborhood? (Or after lunch.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 12:56 PM on November 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

Especially if you are in the northern hemisphere right now, it can make a big difference to get those vitamin D rays from the sun. So yes, I would recommend going on a walk / exercising outside during the day if at all possible.
posted by oceano at 4:01 PM on November 26, 2020

I wish I was willing to excercise to get to sleep, but I can tell you the one utterly soothing thing that gets me to sleep each night, and works on my small child too, is J.R.R. Tolkien. Austen works too because we have listened to them several times. The recordings are in very soothing voices. Calm, the sleep app, has similar voiced shorter pieces, but Tolkien and Austen work perfectly for me because they are such familiar stories.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 9:27 PM on November 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

One thing that isn't exercise that is shown to put your body into rest mode is breathwork. Good, deep inhales followed by longer exhales. This triggers the parasympathetic response, i.e. rest and digest. 10 minutes is good for this.

There's a training program here that is free to sign up to that will walk you through it. Lots of covid long haulers have been using the covid recovery program on there, and are finding sleep easier to come by as a result, and better quality to boot - as a group our bodies tend to be permanently stuck in that state of tension and stress that you've described, with insomnia pretty prevalent as a result. I find the website slightly difficult to navigate so I can email you the relevant pdf if you'd like, though there are some interesting articles on the website to peruse.

You could also try out some Yoga Nidra when you're lying in bed ready to sleep. It's a type of meditation, designed to relax you and send you off to sleep. There are videos on youtube, and a few different meditation apps have free recordings.

I'm someone who finds exercise at night wakes me up more, so maybe err on doing it earlier in the evening or afternoon unless you know it does put you to sleep.
posted by FifteenShocks at 4:41 AM on November 28, 2020

Seconding Yoga Nidra (which is more body-scan-ish) and pretty much any yoga labeled “restorative” or “yin.” Foam rolling your muscles and the part of your spine where your ribs are can also be relaxing if you don’t go too hard and deep — a little self massage basically.
posted by en forme de poire at 8:07 PM on November 28, 2020

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