Jun 15, 2008

Shiftwork and exercise

In general, keeping physically fit helps resist stress and illness. Regular exercise also keeps a person from becoming tired too quickly. A big question for the shiftworker is when to exercise. The timing of exercise is important, so that it does not make you too tired to work. Exercise also should not interfere with sleep. If you do physical labor, too much exercise before work might make work too tiring. Twenty minutes of aerobic exercise before work (for example, a brisk walk, bike ride, jog, or swim) is enough to help any worker wake up and get going and also keep the heart in shape. Try to avoid exercise in the three hours before sleep. Exercise tends to activate the body or wake it up. This might make it difficult to fall asleep.


The timing of exercise also might help a person rotate from one shift to another. Since brisk exercising activates the body to produce energy, it also might help the circadian rhythm shift to the new work time. Try exercise before going on shift. Early morning exercise is good for day shift, afternoon exercise is good for evening shift, and early evening exercise is good for night shift. Don't overdo it or you will be too exhausted to work.

Source:  Plain Language About Shiftwork

Search the National Shiftwork Information Center site for more information about shiftwork lifestyle training tips.

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