Studies offer conflicting advice on the best time to exercise. Many say it’s best in the morning while many also extol the benefits of exercising later in the day. Which one is the correct one?
In the end, the best time to exercise largely depends on your personal lifestyle and preference. You should choose a time that contributes to making exercise a consistent part of your daily life. You can then fully enjoy the wide range of health benefits regular exercise brings.
Find Your Rhythm
Every person has an internal clock known as circadian rhythm, a daily cycle consisting of alternating sleep and wake cycles. In fact, your circadian rhythm regulates the changes that happen on the physical, mental and behavioral aspects within the 24-hour period.
These changes include but aren’t limited to blood temperature, blood pressure, and metabolism rate. But the circadian rhythm also respond to changes in the environment and, thus, it can be set and reset. Your internal clock can be affected by changes in light levels, meals timing, and environmental temperature, even by the ringing of an alarm clock.
With this in mind, you will find that you’re either a morning person or a night owl. You will know which category you’re in based on your physical and mental reactions.
You’re likely a morning person when you feel bright and chirpy during the morning hours. You’re a night owl when mornings are a drag but your productivity shoots up during the nights.
For Morning Persons
Your best time to exercise is during the morning hours. You’re likely to enjoy several benefits from your morning exercise routine, too, including:
- Greater consistency with your exercise routine
- Lesser distractions from things that can possibly happen during your day
- Higher energy levels throughout the day
If you exercise during the morning hours, be sure to eat a light meal first. You can avoid fatigue, dizziness, and lightheadedness this way. You should always perform warm-up exercises.
For Night Owls
You may prefer exercising during the late afternoon or early evening hours for your own reasons. You can think of it as the perfect way of unwinding from the stress of the day. You may also prefer it because you’re more alert while your muscles are already warm.
Just be sure to avoid exercising a few hours before your bedtime. Instead of being able to sleep from exhaustion, you’re likely to be too keyed up to do so. You can exercise after office hours, for example.
The most important thing is that you can maintain a consistent schedule for regular exercise.