When it's dark outside and most of the State is tucked up warm in bed, WA's night owls and early risers are using 24-hour gyms to better arm themselves in the battle against obesity and the health hazards of shift work and modern sedentary living.
From 11pm until 5am, there you will find, lifting weights and getting a dose of aerobic exercise, workers of all ages from a range of occupations. Among them are police officers and security guards, airport and transportation workers, bar tenders and baristas, waiters and waitresses, truckies and tradesmen and supermarket shelf fillers. Also working up a sweat are mothers, who are busy juggling needs and found there were just not enough hours in the day.
And the inspiration for their "out of hours" commitment to exercise was fuelled by much more than just a focus on fitness, said Jetts 24-hour gym personal trainer, Ada Lee. It was also a desire to improve health, increase longevity, ensure continued mobility, and boost levels of contentment, happiness and self-confidence. With his gym based near the Perth International Airport, 24/7 Power Fitness owner Danny McCarthy said he had found the big local population of shift workers also relied on a late-night/ early- morning workout to adjust their body clock. It helped induce sleep or wake them up, reduced the stress that came with working "funny hours", and brought some normality into their life.
"For some, the gym is like popping a sleeping tablet," he said. "It stops them walking around the house trying to get tired. "Others find a workout first up after work makes them much more alert when driving home. They have told us of a lot of near misses on the road when shift workers are tired."
Edith Cowan University Professor of Exercise and Sports Science Rob Newton said he was encouraged by the commitment to exercise of the night owls and early risers, despite working out at times when the body was not at its physical and mental best. Diurnal rhythm put optimal level about 4pm until early evening.
"The most important thing is that they do exercise - that overrides everything else, sleep included," he said. "Because if we do not reach the required amount of physical activity each day, then we get into a whole world of chronic disease problems. So it is important we meet our 150 minutes per week of aerobic exercise and two resistance training sessions per week as a minimum."
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