“My times are in Your hand” (Psalm 31:15 NKJV).
I’m often asked what time of day I consider the best time to exercise. The short answer is, “Any time you will exercise is the best time!” Additionally, once you have a routine established, stick with it.
According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), those who exercise in the morning are most successful in making exercise a habit. ACE also recommends that if you prefer an early morning workout, “emphasize stretching and a good warm-up to insure that your body is ready for action.”
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends a stretching program (like PraiseMoves!) be done 2-3 times per week.
In recent years, scientists have been exploring the area of “circadian rhythms,” the internal clocks God put in place within our physical bodies.
You’ve GOT RHYTHM…
Circadian rhythms, the daily cycles which govern certain physical processes, originate in the hypothalamus just above the brain stem. They regulate everything from body temperature and blood pressure to metabolism.
The influence of circadian rhythms on body temperature seems to have the greatest effect on the quality of the workout we have. When your body temperature is at its highest, your workouts appear to be more productive. They are likely to be less productive when your body temperature is low.
Your body temperature is lowest one to three hours before you wake up in the morning, and at its highest late in the afternoon. Later in the day your muscles are warmer and more flexible, reaction time is quicker, blood pressure and resting heart rate are lower, and strength is at its peak.
Since studies have shown that exercise during these late afternoon/early evening hours produces better results, this may be a good choice for you. However, if you are a procrastinator (as I have been!), it may be wiser to stick to early morning workouts so you don’t melt into the couch after a hard day at the office.
Finding Your Peak Body Temperature
This will take a bit of work, but worth it if you really want to know your circadian peak body temperature.
1. Record your temperature every couple of hours for 5 or 6 days in a row. Body temps usually fluctuate by 1.5 degrees plus or minus throughout the day.
2. Try exercising during the period 3 hours after your highest body temperature.
For most people, this will fall in the range between 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. If you are an early bird or night owl, the times may fluctuate 2-3 hours on either side of that, so adjust accordingly.
The ABSOLUTE BEST Time to Exercise
If stress relief is your goal, exercise always works, all of the time. And if you're wondering when it's best to train for an upcoming event, it all depends on what time you'll actually be competing. If an upcoming marathon begins at 7:00 a.m., try training at that time of day.
In addition, combining exercise with the Word and prayer (as we do in PraiseMoves!) can help make a good habit even better — “Transforming your workouts into worship!”