If you’ve ever set foot inside a gym, you’ve probably noticed there’s a certain ambience to your workout. Circuit training sessions might be lit up with mirrors on every corner, while spin classes might mimic a late-night disco scene.
It turns out, there’s more to this than you might think. Lighting, and indeed, the way colours appear under these lights, can have a tremendous effect on our workouts. Gym architects know this, and so should you. If your goal is to turn your home into the ultimate fitness zone this year, pay attention to these lighting tips.
The dancefloor effect
Setting the trend in 2020 is a new focus on all things music: the DJ effect. As more gyms incorporate current chart-toppers into their workouts, we are now embracing a nightclub feel as we work out. SoulCycle, for example, has paired up with artists to play live concerts as gym-goers spin.
So are we turning out the lights? Only when it’s appropriate. Fitness centre designer Neil Pire notes the safety concerns with recreating discos. While a nightclub effect paired with a thumping beat can spur us on, it’s important not to risk injury.
“These darker areas are ideal for spin classes, where there’s no risk of running into anybody. Generally, the more movement we have, the more light we need.” He does note, however, that ambient lighting needs to build gradually with music.
Boosting the mood
Many gym architects try to incorporate as much natural light as possible to stimulate movement. As home technology users, we can mimic this with our own automated lighting. We can adjust to our own circadian rhythms to recreate a sunrise and wake ourselves up.
Dancing, running and circuit training are all most effective in bright environments. Why? Because our bodies respond positively to light signals, says Phyllis Zee, M.D., Associate Director of the Centre for Sleep & Circadian Biology.
“Light has a very powerful effect on the brain,” he says. “It regulates our performance. Most of us are most alert in the afternoon when there is most light. At this time, our muscle strength is highest.” What’s more, paired with the mood-boosting effects of exercise, light can increase our serotonin levels, making us happier and more motivated to work out.