HERE’S WHEN YOU SHOULD EXERCISE
How much you exercise is important but also when you choose to do it. Kerry Greer from EXOS, a company with over 1.2. million users that specialises in wellness and sports performance, offers tips on when is the best time to work out.
If you ask a scientist, they’ll most likely tell you the “ideal” time to exercise is in the early evening. Studies show that, indeed, things like flexibility, strength, and power are at their peak in those early post-work hours. So, there’s evidence to show you might be able to push harder if you work out when your body temp is at its max – around 5pm.
Still, it’s a personal thing – and depends on your own genetics. If you’re a “morning person” (yes, that’s a real thing!), you may be better off hitting the gym first thing in the day. But you also have to consider the other things going on in your life: Work, family, friends, other obligations… If you have to be at work at 7am, morning workouts may not be realistic regardless of what’s in your DNA.
The real key is creating a routine – and sticking to it. That way, you’ll train your body and perhaps more importantly – your mind – when it’s time to exercise.
If you do have the luxury of working out whenever you like, do a little experimenting on yourself to find out what time of day makes you feel your absolute best. If you don’t have much choice in the matter, skip down to part II.
Part I: Turn yourself into a science experiment
To find out what time will work best for you, conduct a test. “Make sure you get in at least a two-week cycle of whichever times you would like to try as to give your body the proper amount of time to adapt,” notes Greer. Try pre-work workouts the first two weeks, then lunchtime workouts during weeks three and four, and finally early evening workouts in weeks five and six. Consider a couple things with each test:
- Am I sleeping better?
- Do I have more energy?
- Am I able to be consistent?
Keep a journal and also note how often you missed a planned a workout. Review everything at the end of week six to determine your ideal workout time.
Part II: Find the best time of day to work out – for you
Which statement do you most relate to?
"I struggle to stick to my workout schedule I set for myself."
“Morning workouts may be the best for you, before you get distracted with a busy day at work/school,” says Greer.
“I have trouble sleeping at night.”
Work out in the morning or afternoon. “If you exercise too late, it raises your body temperature and heart rate, which affects your sleep,” says Greer.
“I hate morning workouts.”
Work out in the afternoon or early evening. “After work or school could be ideal since you have time for your body to come down before you go to bed,” says Greer.
The bottom line: Don’t sweat it too much. What’s really cool is that your body can adapt to perform better at the time – whatever time – you regularly exercise, according to a study in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. In other words, if you keep working out at 7am consistently, it’ll eventually become easier to work out at 7am.
So, like most habits, being consistent even when it’s tough will make it stick. “Building a routine and choosing a time of day where you can consistently exercise is going to get you the best results. We know there are some times when you have to adjust for life’s ever changing flow but the more consistent you are with exercise, the better.”