What is the best time of day to exercise?
Hey, it’s Health Coach Tara. Today I’m going to cover the best time of day to exercise. If you research this topic, you’ll find all kinds of conflicting advice on the best time of day to exercise. I’ll share what the science says and then share what I find works for me best personally for keeping a consistent exercise practice.
Morning Workouts And Benefits
There is a lot of scientific evidence that the best time to exercise is within the first few hours of waking.
When you exercise, you place stress on the body and raise your cortisol levels. Cortisol is already at a high-level first thing in the morning, so exercising at this time matches your body’s natural cortisol rhythm.
Priming Your Body
When doing an early morning workout, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to warm-up to prevent injuries. Furthermore, exercising first thing in the morning primes your body and your mind for the rest of the day.
You’ll notice you’re more productive and focused because of your early morning workouts. On days you skip the morning workout you may notice more energy slumps and less focus throughout the day.
Early morning exercise also boosts your self-confidence and helps you achieve other goals you have for your day because you started off strong by checking something big off your to-do list.
Second Best Option
Not a morning person? The second best time of day to exercise is in the middle of your day, so this could be over your lunch hour. Your body is warmed up and already primed for movement at this time.
Personally, both Jeremy and I find that working out in the morning is the best time of day to exercise. I am a morning person and Jeremy is not. But, we both agree that the benefits of morning workouts vastly outweigh the inconveniences of getting up a little earlier to start the day.
Break It Up
Another option is to break your workout up throughout the day. If your goal is 30 minutes of exercise you can complete a 10 minute walk in the morning and a 20 minute walk at lunch or however you’d like to break it up. Or, maybe you do yoga first thing in the morning and walk at lunchtime.
When it really comes down to it, the best time of day to exercise is when you’ll consistently do the exercise. We find that we are much more likely to complete our workout early in the day because our day hasn’t gotten chaotic or out of hand.
Later In The Day, Things Get In The Way
When I have scheduled workouts at lunch, I often miss them due to last-minute meetings or a problem I have to deal with that came up or even an errand I forgot to run.
When I schedule workouts for anything other than first thing in the morning, other things tend to get in the way-- even if the other thing is just my excuse that I’m too busy.
By comparison, when I have a morning workout scheduled on my planner for 6 am, there aren’t other demands on my time, other than wanting to hit the snooze button. This is where good sleep hygiene can come into play and make your life much easier.
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Establish A Routine
Establishing an exercise routine does feel uncomfortable at first, but taking the uncomfortable action of doing something new and establishing a new habit will pay off in big dividends as you create a life and body you love to live in.
So, with this information, what is the time of day you are going to exercise for the next week? Comment below and tell us your decision and then go schedule it into your days.
Until next time, this is Health Coach Tara wishing you the very best of health.