The “when should you exercise” debate has been going on for quite some time. Many theories have been tossed around, recommending different times of the day as being best. Some swear that getting up early to squeeze in a morning workout is the way to go, while others believe the afternoon or early evenings are best for your body.
So, when is the best time to exercise, and is one time really better than the other? According to VIPcare provider Dr. Jason Waugh, there is no best time. “I don’t feel that it matters what time seniors exercise,” he said. “Everybody lives by a different rhythm.”
Dr. Waugh went on to say that for him personally, the mornings work better because he has more energy and drive during that time as opposed to the afternoons. “You are less likely to find an excuse to not work out if you exercise earlier in the day,” he added.
Morning exercise, however, has also been shown to positively affect your cognitive performance throughout the day. According to new research in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, exercising shortly after you wake up helps your brain work better all day. In addition, it can help you stay focused and organized.
All of that sounds great and probably something we all strive for – organized and focused – but morning exercise isn’t for everyone or a one-size-fits-all approach. As previously mentioned, some people prefer the afternoons or evenings. They feel they have more energy later in the day, or exercise helps them wind down after a long day. We’re all different.
“The best time to exercise depends on the person,” said Dr. Waugh. “But I would encourage routine, both for simplicity and for accountability.”
Seniors should partake in a mixture of exercises, including cardio and strength training, three times a week for 20 minutes, with 10 minutes of sustained activity. If a 20-minute session is too intense or long for you, you can always split up your exercise to get the full exercise amount accomplished. And if something needs to be sacrificed, Dr. Waugh suggests focusing on cardiovascular.
If you’re just starting out, you need to take caution when exercising. Don’t attempt to go full force on day one. It won’t do you or your body any favors.
“Start any exercise program slowly, working up to the desired goal,” Dr. Waugh said. “This will decrease injury, soreness, and burnout.”
So, regardless of if you’re an avid morning riser who loves to hit the pavement or a night owl who prefers to hit the gym after everyone’s gone home for the day, as long as you’re exercising and reaping the benefits, there is no best time for exercise, only the best time that works for you.