The Right Time For Exercise

Whether you’re a morning person or night owl, consistency will help you exercise effectively

Your days are probably already full, so if now you want to add exercise to the schedule, then understandably you want to make it count. So what is the best time to exercise?

Luckily, you get to decide. Kristen Maynard, an Exercise Physiologist in the Wellness Center at St. Joseph’s/Candler, advises her clients to pick a time that will set them up for success. So whether you can’t imagine waking up before dawn, or your shoes come off—and stay off—as soon as you get home from work, either way is fine. The truly best time for you is the one you will stick to, day after day.

“Don’t schedule yourself for a certain time unless it works for you,” Maynard says. “For me, I know that if I don’t do my workout right away, I won’t do it at all. So I only schedule workouts in the morning. But I have clients who have learned that the only time they can get here is during their lunch break.”

Kristen Maynard 1

Maynard notes that muscles rebuild and regrow in recovery (the time that you aren’t working out). So the actual timing of your workout does not significantly affect the results you achieve. Showing up to work out in the first place is what counts.

“Stack everything in your favor, and choose a time when you know you can make it,” Maynard says.

There are, however, different advantages to working out at different times, as well as some other factors to consider when planning your exercise routine. Working with an exercise physiologist such as Maynard, or even doing some old-fashioned trial and error, can help you pick your peak time.

When To Work Out?

Morning

Advantages: 

Easier to keep consistent (no evening time conflicts coming up during the day)
Alertness = less likely to have careless injury
Less chance of sleep disruption

Things to consider:

Lower body temperature means  more time needed for warm-up exercises
Bowel movements could be disruptive during early workouts


Lunch hour

Advantages: 

Renews energy for the afternoon (and can improve mood and memory)
Co-workers can join you for social support
Avoiding crowds (between 10 a.m. –  4 p.m. is the least busy time for the Candler Wellness Center)

Things to consider:

Should work out first, before eating, to avoid digestive issues
May need a shorter workout to fit within schedule


Late afternoon/Evening

Advantages:

Strength and flexibility at higher levels
Higher body temperature/Lower heart rate and blood pressure
Relieves workday stress

Things to consider:

More susceptible to time conflicts/interruptions
Some people may have a hard time falling/staying asleep


It’s easy to be consistent at St. Joseph’s/Candler’s Wellness Center, which has early morning and evening hours (as well as a variety of evening fitness classes) every weekday. The center also offers convenient weekend hours.  Treadmills, stationery bikes, and free weights are just some of amenities the center has to offer. Call 912-819-8800 for more information.