Recently one of our MiraVita Metamorphosis patients asked me, “When is the best time to exercise – morning or evening?” The answer, of course, is “Yes.”I wasn’t trying to be a smart aleck (although I will admit I was trying to make a bit of a joke), but in reality the most important thing about exercise as part of your weight loss program is taking the time – any time – to do it, whether it’s a formal program with a trainer at the gym or a walk around the neighborhood after dinner.
Studies have been done on circadian rhythms and exercise, and there is no evidence you will burn more calories if you exercise shortly after waking up or if you wait to hit the gym later in the day. Still, there are certain times when you will feel better while doing your workout routine. A few tips:
Establish good sleep habits. We are creatures of habit, so establishing a good sleep routine is very important. Avoid late meals, along with caffeine. Turn off electronic devices by 8 or 9 pm so you have time to unwind before bed.
Consistency is important. If you are someone who jumps out of bed at the crack of dawn, you’ll probably find that morning exercise is perfect for you. One of the reasons so many people find a morning workout rewarding is that it becomes a part of their daily routine. I’m more of a night owl, so I would rather stick a pen in my eye than get on a treadmill at 5:00 a.m. If you enjoy working out with a partner, or you like the social scene at the gym, then an afternoon schedule may be just right.
Still, many patients tell me they are too tired to exercise after work. As the day starts to unfold, time begins slipping away and that hour set aside for working out in the afternoon is the first thing to go – don’t fall into that trap. Make your health a priority.
Figure out the schedule that works for you. Try exercising in the morning for a few days. Then try working out in the early afternoon or evening. Maybe even a midday exercise routine is in the cards. You will soon figure out what works best for you, and more importantly how you feel after the workout. If morning exercise invigorates you for the day to come, or if an hour on the treadmill is a way to unwind at the end of the day, choose the time that works for you and ultimately makes you feel your best.
So to again answer the question, “When is the best time to exercise?” I say, “Whenever time allows, and be consistent.”
Exercise and good sleep and eating habits are all integral parts of the MiraVita Metamorphosis weight loss plans, and to achieving good health. The marketing brains at Nike had it right. “Just Do It!”