What is the Best Time to Exercise?
Written by: Dr. Mehran Tabrizi, Chiropractor, Cambridge Clinic
We're always looking for ways to optimize our health and fitness. From forms of exercise to the latest diets and treatments, we're looking for the advantage that gives us that edge.
But did you know that there is an optimal time of day to exercise, depending on the type of benefit that you're looking to attain?
For maximal skill acquisition, it is best to practice when you are fresh—between 8:00 and 10:00am. Morning is likewise the best time for mood benefits and percent of fat burned for energy.
For those who like to get their workouts in later, 3:00-6:00pm is better for blood sugar and cholesterol regulation, as well as blood pressure and cardiovascular benefits. Upper body strength and power is
also more readily accessible and optimized at this time.
This information came from a largely male cohort in the age range of 30-60 years old so, in as much as it is applicable to you and any health concerns you may have, it is something to consider.
There are, of course, always outside factors that influence our workout times. While some have a strict routine, some are just trying to fit it in wherever they can! It may be helpful to incorporate the information above into your exercise plans, but there are other things about time of day to factor in.
Some people may find that a morning workout helps to set the tone for the day. When working out in the morning, considering that you have just gotten out of bed and may be looking at a day of mostly
sitting ahead, incorporating an extended arm hang into your routine can help to traction and lubricate the joints of both the spine and the peripheral joints.
When working out in the afternoon, some may be looking to blow off steam. In that case, it is important to regulate your nervous system prior to exercise. A McMaster study showed an increased risk of cardiovascular incident when engaging in heavy lifting or cardio when angry; so, doing 4-8 cycles of breathing, biasing the exhale, helps to release some of the day's frustration and anger before
beginning your workout.
Whatever time of day works for you, apply intention to your activity of choice. Whether it is for your body, for your brain, or for your future self, remember what keeps you going on the days you'd rather not! There is also extra physiological benefit that comes from focused attention, as well as preventing the injuries that can result from distraction.
But, above all, if you are making the time for exercise, acknowledge yourself for the effort. There isn't a bad time to prioritize your health.