What’s the best time to exercise? Health Practitioner Lee-Anne Wann shares her view.
We hear and read so many different things suggesting different times of the day work better than others for exercise and fitness routines. But what really is the best?
Now although I am a firm believer that the best time of day to exercise is the one you actually do (honestly there is no use forcing a routine on yourself that simply does not fit with your lifestyle), there are simply superb fringe benefits for seeing if morning exercise works with your lifestyle.
Not only can it help enormously with motivation and commitment, but it really can provide a whole host of benefits that can see you achieving great results.
My top 5 fringe benefits to entice you to try morning exercise
Keeping it happening
It can be challenging to keep it all going with everything we have to do in a day. By incorporating exercise into your morning routine, research shows you are more likely to stay committed.
Over 80% of people who exercise consistently do it in the morning. It’s the only way to guarantee you won’t skip it.
You plan to work out, but your busy day throws a curveball, leaving you scrambling to finish your to-do list by bedtime. So instead of hitting the gym, you hit the sack – annoyed that you missed yet another workout.
You roll out of bed, throw on some clothes and stumble out the door on your way to another busy day. Are you even awake yet? Your metabolism or what I like to call your “idle speed” certainly isn’t.
Not only does morning exercise help you burn calories during the actual workout, but its effects linger after you’re finished. It’s called EPOC – excess post-exercise oxygen consumption – and it’s a fancy way of saying you burn extra calories even after your workout’s over.
So by exercising in the morning you get to take advantage of this throughout the day, and while it may not be much, every little bit really does count.
Morning exercise really can help you at night. A study published in the scientific journal Sleep showed that overweight or obese women who began a regular morning exercise routine slept better than those who exercised regularly in the evening.
Why? Evening exercise stimulates your body. You become restless and alert, making it very difficult for your brain to turn off and your body to drift into restful sleep.
Exercise is like the ignition in your car – it turns your body on, not off, so morning exercise is a great way to start the day.
As surprising as we might find it, oxygen, not caffeine, is what your brain wants in the morning. So instead of reaching for the coffeepot, reach for your trainers and you’ll get all the brain-boosting benefits you need.
Studies show that exercise can increase your mental sharpness for 4 to 10 hours after your workout, a benefit you can really use at the start of your day and your boss will thank you for it.
Many people find that morning exercise has a tendency to regulate their appetite for the rest of the day.
Not only do they eat less (since activity causes the release of endorphins, which in turn diminishes appetite), they also choose healthier portions of healthier foods.
So rather than fighting against that afternoon cookie time craving, try exercising in the morning to help manage your afternoon.
Lee‐Anne Wann is one of the most relevant and trusted health and fitness expert in New Zealand. With over 30 qualifications, Lee‐Anne currently runs a private medicine and health practice, is the team nutritionist for the Vodafone Warriors, U20 Team and Warriors Reserves Team.