WHAT'S THE BEST TIME OF DAY TO EXERCISE?
Chronobiology has proven that our bodies are far more likely to perform better at certain times of day - and here, the Grace Belgravia experts show us how the workout you're doing and results you hope to achieve, can be taken to the next level with a bit of clock-watching
Just as with other activities of life – eating, sleeping, socialising, travelling – timing is crucial.Exercising at the optimal time of day not only means you get more out of the physical exercise itself but that also you maximise the myriad knock-on benefits. Your sleep, level of nourishment, alertness, strength, cognitive awareness and mood… all things affected by exercise, and in turn, the time of day we choose to do so.
If you’re going for sports records you will know how timing affects performance.One study showed that the average time for a 100-metre sprint was 2.7 seconds faster at 10pm than at 6.30am.Most Olympic records are broken in the late afternoon.
You may not be chasing world records or challenging yourself to beat your own “personal best” – but we’re all seeking that sense of wellbeing and happiness that comes from exercising well.For this reason, here are some exercise tips to get the best out of your body clocks:
- Studies have shown that between 3pm and 6pm, physical performance peaks
- Muscle strength is at its highest between 2pm and 6pm.Lung function is an astonishing 17% more efficient at 5pm than at midday. Good to know if you’re heading out for a particularly strenuous workout.
- If your exercise involves risk of physical injury, the later in the afternoon the better:joints and muscles are as much as 20% more flexible in the early evening, and our receptiveness to pain is lower too – so we are more likely to feel our body’s strain, adjust, and thus avoid injury.
- Similarly, if your activity demands good hand-eye co-ordination, late afternoon is the best time.
- If you’re concerned about your blood pressure, afternoon or evening exercise can reduce it by 10%-11%
- For weight loss and kick-starting your metabolism, morning workouts are marginally better
- For additional psychological benefits, a morning workout will release endorphins which will make you start the day feeling positive and happy
- And finally, to get a good night’s sleep, scheduling your exercise for the afternoon helps deepen sleep and cut the time it takes to fall asleep.But note:vigorous exercise just before bedtime can have the reverse effect.
While the opportunity we get to work out may be the same each day, it is worth considering how you can tailor the results of your fitness regime, simply by tailoring the time of day the exercise is taken. But, most importantly of all, our experts agree that any workout is better than no workout at all!
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