The question is often asked and researched: what time if the day is best to exercise: morning, after lunch, after work?
Here is the answer: whatever time of day works best for you.
Some people prefer the middle of the day, going at “lunchtime.” It helps to have a buddy system (meet up) and it breaks up your day, especially if you have a sedentary job. I suggest that people spend at least half of their lunch-break going for a walk. If you have a flexible schedule, then you can take more time or do a more strenuous exercise if you wish.
Doing the exercise in the afternoon-evening is a great way to guarantee that you don’t work too late! Ha. Many people like it since they can go home and eat dinner right afterwards. We suggest that you don’t do cardio exercise too close to bed-time, since you may have trouble getting to sleep right away. But it may not bother you. There are several 24-hour gyms, allowing you to exercise any time, even in the late evening or at midnight.
But what happens if someone disrupts your lunch plans? Or there is an “emergency” you need to tend to in the afternoon? Or somebody innocently stops by or calls and your “me” time derails. Many things can get in the way during the day that gives us excuses to not exercise.
This happened to me today:
- 11:00 am: Office holiday party where ate and visited with colleagues about 1 pm.
- 1:00 pm: Upon arriving in my office, my son calls wanting to visit me at work.
- 1:45ish: Back working.
- 2:05 pm: Someone “stops by” my office to visit with me.
- 2:50 pm: I return phone calls that I missed over the last four hours. I now have less than two hours to get something done at work! No time to go for a workout or walk!
- 5:00 pm: conference call that I must attend.
- 6:10 pm: While on the Conference call, my husband calls looking for a missing (major) ingredient for dinner.
- 6:15 pm: Conference Call ends, walk to my car and swing by the grocery store (buying just the one item!)
- 7:00 pm: Finally home.
- 7:30 pm: Dinner.
- 8:00 pm: Free time? My husband goes to work at 8:45, so I don’t run off in the hour we have left.
- 9:00 pm: no workout now, since I wouldn’t be done until at least 10:00 pm; too close to bedtime.
This is why I prefer to exercise first thing in the morning. In the summer I get to see the sunrise and the benefit of cooler temperatures (and no gnats). In the winter it is still quite cold, but you warm up quickly. There aren’t as many people at that time of day, either on the streets or in the gym. Even the classes aren’t as crowded as the other times. But the best benefit of exercising first thing in the morning is getting it done with no one else to stop you from your plans. But, some people just can’t exercise in the morning. They aren’t morning people, don’t have time before work, they have to get the kids off to school. There are all kinds of reasons legitimate reasons.
We all have the “best” time of day to exercise: the time you WILL do it. No excuses, no interruptions, no one else to sabotage your plans. Put yourself first, and take care of yourself and make it priority.
Research does suggest that one time of day over another is more beneficial, but the differences and potential advantages are slight. Bottom line: nearly all of us need to exercise more. So just go!