What’s the Best Time of Day to Exercise?

Are there times of day when exercise is scientifically more efficient than at other times? When we can maximize the minutes we put in to the greatest physical benefit?

What is the best time of day to exercise? The answer is

there really isn’t a best time. What matters is that you exercise.

That doesn’t mean the time of day you exercise is not important, it’s just not the same for everyone and doesn’t correlate with some particular phase of the circadian rhythm. When you work out is important – the ideal time is the time when you can be most consistent, to make exercise a habit that fits into your normal routine.

Schedule Practically Not Optimistically

Too often when we embark on new exercise regimens, we set ourselves up for failure. Not because our efforts aren’t earnest or disciplined but because in truth, we just can’t cram the workouts in as we optimistically planned. Our lives are busy.

When you schedule your workouts make sure your plans are practical, feasible and not just wishful thinking.

We all need to negotiate traffic or public transportation, and juggle the schedules of exercise buddies, classes at gyms and studios, and our families – we can’t be superheroes every day — plan smartly so you don’t have to be a superhero to fit your workout in.

Consider the Morning Workout

While there may be no scientific preference for exercising in the morning in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, there are practical benefits for many people.

  • Sticking to the plan. For many people, getting a morning workout in before the time pressures of the day begin piling up can make the difference between sticking to the plan and not sticking to the plan. There’s less chance of unexpected or ‘better’ things to do derailing you first thing in the morning than later in the day
  • Better Sleep. Exercising in the morning can improve sleep. Significantly longer periods of deep sleep were reported for subjects who exercise in the morning compared with those who exercised in the evening and those who did not exercise at all. Better sleep results in lowered stress and blood pressure and improved focus and general health.
  • Preventing Weight Gain. For those trying to lose weight, there is evidence that working out in the morning on an empty stomach burns more fat.

Set Yourself Up for Success

Your exercise plan has to work not just for your schedule but for you.

  • Are you a morning person or a night owl?
  • Do you like to workout at home or at the gym?
  • Do you like to exercise alone or with others?

Whether you’re adjusting your current routine or starting your first exercise plan ever remember: The answer to “What’s the best time of day to exercise?” is whenever works best for you to get that workout in.

Don’t be an optimistic scheduler who arrives 20 minutes late, frustrated and stressed, to an evening yoga class and expect that to be an effective workout. Remove the obstacles ahead of time by setting up a routine that makes it easy to follow through, without requiring you to rely solely on willpower.

Be practical. Stack the cards on your side. You’ve got this.

Hope Hackett

Hope Hackett regularly defies gravity. She teaches flying trapeze, trampoline, and tumbling.

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