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The Ideal Time to Exercise

Woman shooting basketball.

Have an active hobby or enjoy playing a sport? Make that your daily exercise time. Who said exercise can’t be fun?

Exercise is actually a “requirement” needed by your body for good health. However, the majority of people do not exercise consistently. Furthermore, many of us have sedentary jobs and lifestyles, leaving us sitting all day long!

Do you tend to sit for most of the day? Do you generally lead a sedentary lifestyle? Then it is especially important to include physical movement AND exercise into your daily routine.

But where do you get started? It doesn’t have to mean you have to join a gym or do the latest trendy class. But it does mean prioritizing time to exercise in your already busy schedule.

Many people ask:

What’s the best time of the day to exercise?

We recommend that the best time of day to exercise is any time that you can consistently do it. If you’ve found a time of day that’s working for you, then stick with it! There is no “magic or secret” best time to exercise!

However, your exercise performance can be affected by your circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms are the body’s “internal clock.” They control blood pressure, hormones, appetite, sleep cycles, body temperature and countless other details. Your circadian rhythm is what gets out of step when you cross multiple time zones and experience jet lag.

Researchers have found that body temperature is an important variable in determining the quality of one’s exercise program. Body temperature is at its lowest during the one to three hours before you awaken. When body temperature is low, muscles are tight and blood flow is reduced. This can make an early morning workout more sluggish and can increase chances of injury.

There are many positives to morning exercise sessions. Morning movement and workouts increases whole body blood flow and circulation, helping to warm up the body and prepare it for the day. Since movement generates 90% of the energy to the BRAIN, many people report that they have more physical energy, mental clarity and feel more productive during the day.

Plus, many people find it convenient to exercise in the morning, since busy schedules and sometimes surprise stress arrives later in the day. They find it’s best to get it done before “the day gets to them!” If you do exercise in the morning, just make sure to take extra care in stretching and warming up to maximize mobility, performance and decrease your risk of injury.

On the other hand, early afternoon and evening workouts have their benefits too. Many prefer to work out later since they are more alert, body temperature is higher, their muscles are warmer and more flexible. Are you not an early riser, or have a schedule that prevents you from morning workouts? Then maybe a later workout is best for you. Working out at then end of the day is also a great way to release stress.

One Rule of Thumb is to avoid strenuous exercise 2-3 hours before bed. Light movement, like a walk, yoga or stretching, can actually HELP you sleep. However, intense movement ramps up your heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol in the body. This can impair sleep and rest because it affects our circadian rhythm and how our body naturally goes into relaxation mode at night.

No matter when you exercise, Consistency is the key. It is about creating a routine that is personalized, realistic and sustainable to you and your lifestyle! Start by creating  a schedule of when, what and where you will start moving more. Set a tangible goal and you’ll start to experience the positive effects of physical movement and activity. The more you move, the BETTER you will move, and the better you will look, feel and function!

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