If you are completely unsure of what time of day to work out—morning, noon or night—then it is a good idea to try each one at least once to find out what works well for you. Once you do, then pay attention to your likes and dislikes about each time of day. It may even help to write down a pro and con list so you can visually analyze your experiential findings. Upon selecting the best time of day to exercise, start maintaining a brief journal at the end of every day to write down how you feel and what the progress is with your exercise routine. This will add an extra commitment marker so you will be more likely to stick with the routine.
Even so, is there really a “best” time to exercise? Experts typically give benefits of each time of day, but lean more toward the morning routine. We all know the super-peppy people who casually mention how awesome their 5 a.m. run went, as we might think, “Wow, I don’t think I can do that” and down a glazed donut. It seems like the “go-getters” are the ones who wake up early to jog or lift weights, while more “low-key” types decide to wait until after work to hit the gym.
Regardless, the most important aspect of choosing a time of day to be consistent with relates to whether you will commit and stick with it. So, if you know you absolutely hate life in the early morning or dislike too much movement before coffee, then trying the lunch break, late afternoon or evening time frames may work. However, there is significant research that people who rise and shine to exercise tend to be more successful with their goals and follow-through. It makes sense due to other pressures and surprises which typically take place late morning to afternoon for most working professionals.
Here’s an example of one of those days:
- The night before, you vow to hit the gym right after work. You even alert the family not to expect you on time.
- You wake up refreshed, feeling positive, like you can take on the day. A healthy breakfast was consumed and the perfect lunch packed.
- Once at the office, you begin working on current projects and then stop to check email.
- Suddenly, you see a string of email alerts with high importance from your boss and receive a call at your desk to tell you a project due next week is now top priority.
- You realize the only way the new deadline will be met is if you stay later a little bit each day.
- You don’t make it to the gym that day or the entire week.
Okay, this example is probably more extreme than usual (or maybe not), but this shows us how anything is possible during the workday. You never know what project may need to rise up on the priority list or if someone vital to completing it will call out sick, pushing your pressure-driven skills to the forefront. Therefore, I believe it is a better choice to work out in the morning, as long as it is a top priority for you.
Just as there are numerous activities to participate in for exercise, there are also several ways to schedule the time in. Everyone is different. Some people know that they will not work out on their own. They have to schedule time with a friend for a walk and fun around the block. Others prefer to exercise by themselves. They find it therapeutic; a great way to clear the mind.
Some choose to break up exercising into ten minute increments, allowing extra time in the morning for a longer walk to the office from the parking lot, and then a light jog before eating lunch. This way, if the schedule is very busy, quick and brisk exercises can still be accomplished without major time commitment.
What is your best time of day to exercise? Why?
by Crystal Gettings