The other day, an article came across my social media feed, something about the best time of day to exercise. I didn’t have time to read the article, but thought to myself, “The best time of day is the time that you will do it!” Today, I went on a search for the article and could only remember that it was from the New York Times. I did a search “Best time to exercise, New York Times” and several articles came up. Can you hear me laughing? I only browsed the descriptions, but was amused that several articles stated afternoon, while others said the best time was morning; some even specifying early morning/afternoon unless you prefer the ones extolling the benefits of late morning/afternoon. I would say that all the articles have basis, as often, the time of day was to address a specific goal. For example, I found the original article that I was searching for and it was, “The Best Time of Day to Exercise for Metabolic Health” (Gretchen Reynolds, The New York Times, May 26, 2021).
I will stand by my original thought, “The best time of day to exercise is the time you will do it…”, and add “… consistently so that it becomes part of your lifestyle and not something you have to fit in.” Just as I wrote about a few weeks back in “The Most Effective Exercise” , each person’s circumstance is different. Is the best time for the person that works 9 to 5 mid-morning? What about the parents of a newborn? For each of my three, the late afternoon was the most challenging time of day. I was lucky if I could get a minute to use the restroom and one squat does not qualify as exercise time.
Find a time that will work with your schedule. When in the day, can you consistently commit 30 minutes? Remember, exercise is activity requiring physical effort, carried out to sustain or improve health and fitness. So, it does not mean that you have to go to the gym, unless, for you, that is what will create the consistency. If you need to be taking classes to keep you committed, there are even virtual options. I teach online each week and many of my students tell me that if I did not have that option, they wouldn’t be able to take my class due to schedule and/or distance. Maybe you need the support of someone, to be consistent, who is just as eager to see you succeed in your fitness endeavors as you are. The clients that I train (either in person or online) know that I am going to show up and be ready to coach them, keep them accountable and encourage them through their fitness routine, so they, in turn, need to “show up”.
One last tip, don’t hold back from making a commitment because your schedule might change. Your schedule WILL change. You may change jobs, your kids will grow and need you differently, life is everchanging. Commit to at least 3 months, and you will begin to feel better and see differences and exercise will become a part of your schedule. So when life happens, you adjust your schedule with your fitness in mind. Your new more confident self will thrive and soon you your mind and body will know the routine. Time to Exercise!