When should one exercise?
If one were to talk to ten different sports experts on what is the best time to exercise, the most likely would be 30 different answers, each contradicting one another. Some sports athletes swear that exercising at 6 am is best for muscles and increasing endurance. Others would never dream of waking up before 6 am and going for a jog. Others prefer exercising in the evening. So what is the real time to exercise?
In reality, there is no solid evidence that working out at a certain time of the day or night burns calories faster than at certain times of the day. However, most people find that working out is best done during daylight hours. Further, the time selected is one which one can adapt to and be consistent. No one should grudgingly wake up at 6 am and go for a jog. This only leads to bitterness and a dislike for exercise.
For most individuals your body will let you know what is the best time to exercise. Some prefer to work out early in the morning and others prefer the late evening. The body’s inherent rhythms like temperature, blood pressure, hormone levels and heart rate all play a vital role in determining whether you are ready for exercise. Of course, asides from the body’s inherent rhythms, there are also other circumstances that influence when one can work out. Most people have to work, others have families, schedules to fit in, and so the time of exercise is different for each individual.
Some experts claim that exercising early in the morning allows for consistency. In the evening, people always find other things to do and exercises are often relegated at the bottom of the list. Anecdotal reports suggest that some individuals are more regular with exercises first thing in the morning because there is little else to interfere with this schedule. However, all individuals who exercise in the early morning should understand that since temperatures are cooler at this time of the day, it is essential to warm up a little longer than one would later in the daytime.
Exercises should not be done right before bedtime. This may interfere with sleep. To get a good night’s sleep, it is best to exercise a few hours earlier. Our bodies need to get ready for sleep. Intensive exercises and then sudden stoppage does not allow the body to adjust for good sleep. Late exercises can disrupt sleep rhythms and one feels even more tired the following day.
The other caveat about exercise is that one should not exercise immediately following a meal. The blood needed for muscles is instead diverted to the gut to digest food. It is best to give one’s self at least 60-90 mins after a heavy meal.
One does not need to see a fitness expert to determine what is the best time to exercise. Try working out in the morning for a few weeks, and then try at noon or early evening. Determine what time you enjoy the most and how you feel afterwards. The most important thing about exercise is to be consistent. This is more important that selecting the time of the day. Individuals who randomly exercise almost always drop out in a short time.
Exercise like most things in life; requires dedication, consistency, and motivation.