Metabolism is a tricky subject. Your energy isn’t a constant flow throughout the day—it ebbs and flows, and it reacts strongly to digestion and exercise, more than most would think. Habits such as eating breakfast or drinking tea every morning can be enough to change how your body performs throughout the day.
So, the ideal time for exercise is different for everyone, and the average fitness enthusiast has to make time to exercise. It’s important to exercise properly, or the benefit of the time spent can easily be halved. So, when is it ideal for you?
Your metabolism also depends on genetics, age, and other factors that you can’t do much about. So, most people don’t notice how their energy changes through the day, but it tends to be a habit-forming rhythm. Your metabolism naturally fits and proactively responds to your use of time, and so you’ll be hungry at the usual time, and you’ll also feel like moving around at a usual time, as well.
While you exercise, it’s important to keep note of your heart rate. The more time you spend at a target heart rate of 65-75% of your max heart rate (~150-170 BPM), the more your body benefits.
When you feel like moving around and your body has energy to spend, you’ll find it easier to push yourself to your target heart rate within minutes. If so, you have found your ideal time to exercise. Since that depends also on when you eat and sleep, it’s important to try changing your habits to fit a balanced, natural rhythm first, to see when your body responds best to exercise.
Many will swear by exercising first thing in the morning, and it’s often considered to be the best time by many experts. Morning exercise promotes better health and productivity, but the benefits may be limited if you’re not exactly a morning person.
Naturally, the body is ready to perform more exercise when it’s well-rested. People enjoy spending their mornings being physically active, because it helps focus their energy for the rest of their day. Their basal metabolic rate is at a higher level, and they’ll feel more at ease at school or at work, or any other activity. In order to feel like this every day, it’s good to be wary of the quality of your sleep.
If you’re feeling that it’s difficult for your body to get going in the morning, it might be because of the quality of sleep that you get. Trying to exercise when your body isn’t fully awake can usually mean that the first thirty minutes of the session, your body won’t reach a good target heart rate, which greatly diminishes the benefit of exercising to begin with.
For those needing an energy boost and haven’t exercised in a while, it’s a good idea to try exercising in the morning and shake the body back into better habits. For others, it takes some time to get going in the morning, and matters must be attended to. A quick break an hour or two after a light lunch may be ideal for such people.
Some find the afternoon the best time to exercise. Usually, such people have a light lunch and reserve an hour or two mid-afternoons to exercise. This kind of schedule helps them push through the day, and the reason is partly because that is when they feel the right balance of having energy to spend and feeling warmed up.
If you’re otherwise occupied during mornings, it’s a good idea to try having a light lunch and exercise break in your afternoons. You’ll feel more ready to push your body to the right target heart rate, where an hour of exercise in this state is much more effective, than struggling through an exercise session just to mark it off on your weekly journal.
Evening or Late-Night Exercise
Some people are fans of evening or late-night exercise. It’s not that they cannot exercise in the morning, but it may feel better to exercise in the evening or late-night after school or work, when the physical activity is also stress-relieving.
Such people also tend to be more active thinkers at night, and exercising around 9-10 PM can help calm thoughts and improve sleep, which means that they’ll also be more physically active in the morning. So, depending on the person, morning exercise may not be the best solution.
Understanding when you get the most out of your exercise session can help you optimize your time and improve your physical activity for the rest of your day. Many people try to change their habits all at once and find it difficult to maintain in the immediate short-term. Usually, the most discouraging part is finding it difficult to exercise, so it’s also good to consider when it’s more easily possible for you, as well.
Even if it feels difficult at first, pushing yourself to exercise at the right time can really be the best first step on your health journey!
To better understand how your body benefits from exercise, try using FITTO to track your muscle mass on a day-to-day basis! You’ll be able to see where you need work and how to set reasonable goals, to guide you to following a more optimal, balanced routine, all within your first few sessions with FITTO.