Are you someone who, by 8 a.m. has already worked-out, ate, showered, and ready to tackle the day (a morning lark)? Or do start getting on a roll in the evenings, 7 p.m. and well onwards (a night owl)?
At the Physical Activity Line, I often get asked, “when is the best time of the day to exercise?” Well, surprisingly one is no better than the other. It all depends on your own personal internal body clock.
Early Exercise for Morning People
Early daybreak exercise might work well for you because you are energized and ready to go. I consider myself a lark and like being active first thing in the morning; I get my workout done and can’t delay it if my day get busy. However as you’re waking up first thing in the morning, your body might not feel optimally fueled (which is more important if your session is longer than an hour). Here’s a good link on nutrition, or for more specific information give the Dietitians at HealthLinkBC a call for free.
Later Exercise for Night Owls
For the night owls being active later in the day feels best. Advantages include being well fed and hydrated, it’s a good way to manage the day’s stress and can be a social outing too. However, you need to be motivated and not put it off if your day becomes hectic. Keep in mind too that being active right before bed may delay sleep. Give yourself a few hours between exercising and heading to bed. Click here to learn more about physical activity and sleep.
Bottom line: the best time to be active is the time that works best for you. Of course sometimes you might have to compromise and adjust your schedule, but if you know when you perform best you’ll enjoy yourself more and stick with it.
HealthLinkBC: Sleep and Your Body Clock
Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine Blog: The Larks and the Owls – Chronotype and Desynchronosis