All exercise is not created equal. And just as different workouts yield different results, the time of day in which you exercise can make a huge difference in your energy and performance levels. The common rule is that you should choose a time when you will actually go. However, if you have more free time in the day, choose a time that is best for your internal clock.
Does Early Bird Get the Worm?
A study published in 2019 in the Journal of Physiology found that exercising at 7 a.m. may shift your body’s clock earlier, making you more awake in the morning and tired earlier in the evening, potentially leading to you rise early the next day for your workout.
Many personal trainers say that working out first thing in the morning can be more beneficial because of less scheduling conflicts, making it more likely to start a routine that will stick. While it is a great way to jumpstart your mind and body, early morning exercises aren’t for everyone. Some people say that a morning workout leaves them feeling energized and ready to take on the day, but others may find themselves feeling overworked and tired.
The Power of Your Circadian Rhythm
One of the biggest factors in how our workouts affect our bodies is our circadian rhythm, or the mechanism that governs our sleep patterns. Your circadian rhythm is a 24-hour cycle that is part of your body’s internal clock, helping carry out essential functions and processes. Perhaps the most important and well-known circadian rhythm is the sleep-wake cycle.
In fact, an Arizona State study found that exercise before 7 a.m. or between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. had a significant effect on the body clock, allowing people to start activities earlier the next day. In conjunction, people who exercised between 7 and 10 p.m. delayed their body clock and had a harder time reaching their peak-performance mode until later the next day.
So When’s the Perfect Time to Exercise?
All in all, there’s no right answer for everyone, but rather a time that’s best for your individual body clock. Getting your body moving, whether that’s first thing in the morning, in the middle of the day or when you get off work or is better than not doing anything. If you find it harder to work out at certain times throughout the day, change your routine. As long as you’re exercising, the time of day is relatively insignificant.
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