Benefits of Reflective Gear for Running at Night

Thursday, June 09, 2016

For most people, mornings are usually reserved for coffee, preparing lunch-boxes or skimming through emails. When the evening comes, most gyms and fitness centers are closed and many folks are compelled to hit the road and run a couple of miles. While most people are forced to jog or cycle at night because of their busy morning schedules, it turns out that exercising at night may actually be good for you.

The Advantages of Night time Workouts 

A 2013 study from the University of South Carolina found out that people mostly benefit from evening workouts because of the body temperature. The temperature of your body, which tends to be higher later in the day, can noticeably increase your strength and reaction time. What is more, cortisol and thyrotropin - hormones that increase your energy - are at their highest levels at night.
Shawn Youngstedt, the head researcher, also noticed that late afternoon workouts might even help you sleep better at night. Volunteers who participated in the study were able to fall into a deep sleep only 30 minutes after a moderate workout. Although there are many benefits, running at night still has its risks. You have to be aware of your surroundings and make yourself visible to ensure a safe late night exercise.

Reflective Strips Equal More Visibility

A recent research paper, published by Joanne Wood from the Queensland University of Technology, concluded that people who ride bikes in the evenings frequently misjudge their visibility to other road users. People who wear black clothing are especially optimistic – they think that drivers will see them from twice the distance than they actually can. Moreover, irregular cyclists tend to rate themselves more visible at longer distances than regular cyclists.

The research also found out that highly visible reflective gear, such as the reflective strips for the knees and ankles, is far more effective than people thought. When moving in a characteristic pattern, reflective strips attached to the movable joints of the cyclist substantially improve his visibility. In addition, although standard orange coats and vests are great for getting people’s attention during the day – they are practically useless at night. 

Safely Listening to Music

Most people look for noise canceling earphones in order to block out the background noise and concentrate on their favorite songs while running. But that feature can have certain consequences. A case study, conducted by Dr. Richard Lichenstein from the University of Maryland, examined 116 accidents involving pedestrians using earphones. In nearly the third of the cases, the drivers did not have enough time to sound the siren and warn the person due to low visibility on the road. Even though there were many models of “exercising earphones” on the market for quite some time, only a couple of years ago companies such as JBL Audio started producing reflective earphones. The Sycnhros Reflect are designed specifically with night runners in mind, with a highly reflective cable that provides high visibility in low light. However, it is important to remember that earplugs will reduce your ability to hear incoming cars when played at high volumes.

Clothing & Accessories

According to a report by the Runner’s World magazine, most Americans (more than 25%) are night runners and the demand for the glow-in-the-dark, neon and reflective equipment has never been bigger. When it comes to choosing the gear, there are two main groups – clothing and accessories.  Of course, it all comes down to your needs. If you plan on running during the winter, you should purchase some thermal, reflective gloves. On the other hand, if you do not want to overheat by wearing a jacket during the summer, consider getting some reflective snap-bands to maximize your visibility.



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