When Is The Best Time to Exercise?

by Rachel Keller 


When is the best time to exercise?  Is early morning when you first wake up the best time of day to exercise?  How about later morning after you've started your day?  During your lunch break at work?  Sometime in the early or late afternoon after a long day at work, or perhaps in the evening a couple hours before retiring?  Ask several different people, and you will probably get several different responses as to when is the best time of day to exercise for optimal results.


Every individual is unique, and as such, each person's body chemistry and inner clock is different.  What works best for me, may not work for you.  In fact, what works best for you today, may change in a couple years.

You will perform best when your energy level is high.  So if you are a morning person, early morning may be the best time to exercise for you.  But just because you're a night owl doesn't mean, you shouldn't exercise in the morning.  In fact, you may find that exercising early may change you to a morning person.

Over the years, I have experimented with different exercise times and routines.  When I was pregnant with my oldest son, I was substitute teaching. During that time of my life, I would take a relaxing walk at the end of my day.  After having my second son, I walked/jogged early mornings and on alternate days chose to do some afternoon aerobics while my sons napped.

I've tried other times of the day for exercising, and I always feel great after finishing a routine, but I have found that the best time to exercise for me is first thing in the morning.  Though not naturally an early bird, I enjoy running under the morning sunrise, and I have found that since implementing my daily morning routine, I have become a morning person.  Starting my day with physical activity also gives me the boost I need to make it through a hectic day with three young sons.

Not everyone, however, can bound out of bed first thing in the morning to exercise.  Maybe you already get up early to go to work.  You must either make the effort to get up a little earlier or find time during a long work break or at the end of the day to squeeze in some physical activity (even if it is only 20 minutes).  You may find, though, that the more time that passes, the harder it is to exercise.  You're tired and have so much to do and just don't feel like taking some time for fitness.

For some people, the best time to exercise is in the early evening, since exercise helps them relieve the stresses of the day and relax for the night.  For others, exercising vigorously at night may keep them awake longer.  (I do enjoy a few relaxing stretches before bed, but I avoid aerobic activity in the evening for that reason).

Best time of day to exercise

So when is the best time to exercise?  Any time that you can do it.  I recommend trying an early morning routine first if you can.  It starts your day on a positive note and other responsibilities won't prevent you from exercising.  Researchers have found that those who exercise in the morning are more likely to stick with an exercise routine than those who put it off until later in the day.  So for most people, the best time of day to exercise is mornings.

If early morning does not work for you and you are disciplined and committed to exercising another time, then by all means, do it then.  The best time of day to exercise for you is the time when you will do it and remain committed.  It's not always easy getting started, but if you stay with it for some time, you will like what you see, and will be more motivated to continue.


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