Part of instigating a fitness routine is figuring out the type of exercise you want to perform. Another is figuring out your schedule. What time of day is best? How long should your session last? What about the recovery period? The answers are going to depend on individual circumstances, but there are a few principles to keep in mind (https://longevity.technology/lifestyle/ultimate-guide-to-exercise-timing-optimizing-your-fitness-schedule/).
There are a wide range of factors that may influence your exercise decisions. There’s fitting it in around your other obligations, like work, school or childcare. There’s the impact of any illness or injury. There’s the simple matter of your personal preference. It’s also important to realize that, just like everyone has their own natural sleep schedule, we all perform better at different times of the day.
The reason for this is actually similar to why sleep schedules are so individualized. It’s because of our circadian rhythms – the body’s natural timetable. These generally respond to light and darkness, making us alert during the day and tired at night, but can vary from person to person due to genetics and other factors. Disrupting your circadian rhythm can have a knock-on effect on your metabolism, hormone levels and body temperature, which adjust through the day, in addition to mood and cognition.
Metabolism (which impacts our energy levels) has a significant impact on exercise performance. Different hormones influence when we burn fat or build muscle. Body temperature impacts blood flow. It also increases during and after exercise. Later in the day, when your body temperature is higher, muscles may be stronger and more flexible, and you’re likely to use up more calories.
This means that understanding your body’s own natural rhythms is vital for deciding your exercise schedule. If you want to maximize its effectiveness, you should figure out when you are at your most energetic and alert. Experiment with different times and assess your performance. Fit it in around eating, sleeping and other commitments. Most importantly, listen to your own body.
Some people may prefer to exercise in the morning to energize themselves for the day. Others may favor the evening, as a form of stress relief. Perhaps you want aerobics in the morning and yoga at night? Your productivity, both during your session and in other areas of your life, will be at its best if you follow your body’s own natural inclinations.