Thrive In Five – When is the best time to exercise and why?

Best time to exercise

In this weeks Thrive In Five I look at when is it best to exercise and why? With lockdown and remote working adding more flexibility into our day, what tweaks can you make to your workout routine to get maximum benefit.

I want to talk to you about how I have tweaked my exercise routine during lockdown when I have been exclusively working from home, which I know most of you, if not all of you will have been doing the same. This is a piece of information I usually withhold because many of us are office based so it becomes a mute point. I’ve tweaked the timings of my exercise sessions and I will explain a little bit about why I have done that.

The optimal time to do a harder or more intense workout is actually in the afternoon roughly between 2-4pm.

The reasons for that are our nervous systems in the morning are already primed for the day ahead. Therefore it’s not good to further jack up the sympathetic nervous system first thing in the morning. What is better first thing is something that is parasympathetic dominant, in other words something gentler or more restorative for example a gentle dog walk in nature, or simple bouncing up and down to drain the lymphatic system. So for intense hard exercise isn’t ideal first thing in the morning. For many this is the only time in the day they can get their workout done, so that’s no problem.

However with lockdown and remote working we have more flexibility around our day. With that in mind my recommendation would be to start the day with something gentler and do that harder workout between 2pm-5pm.

The physiological reasons for doing harder workouts in the afternoon

Our grip strength, our protein synthesis, our testosterone and other hormones that really get us primed for the tougher stuff peak in the afternoon. Numerous studies have shown that that is the best time to do those harder exercise sessions.

If you’re already into fitness try tweaking your workout time and see how it works for you. For those of you who are looking to get into fitness, consider putting your harder workouts later.

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