Are You a Morning Mover or Afternoon Shaker?

There is boundless research on the best type, duration, intensity and frequency of exercise, but until now, not so much on the timing of it. What is clear though is that whatever time of day we get moving, exercise is good for us. Here is a quick refresher on just some of the benefits.

1. Heart health

Exercise improves overall cardiovascular health and reduces your risk of heart disease. It strengthens your heart muscle, lowers blood pressure, and improves circulation.

2. Chronic illness management

Regular physical activity is key to managing chronic conditions such as diabetes and osteoporosis.

3. Mood booster

Exercise releases endorphins – your body’s natural stress relievers. Studies have shown a clear benefit of regular exercise in mild anxiety and depression.

4. Strength and endurance

Consistent exercise will strengthen your muscles and bones as well as improve your endurance – all vital for healthy ageing.

Morning movers

One clear advantage of exercising in the morning is that you are less likely to skip a workout. At the start of the day, the usual post-work excuses just do not hold. Help to limit other possible reasons for skipping a morning workout by getting an early night, laying out your exercise clothes the night before and making sure you choose an exercise you enjoy for your early morning workouts.

Many people worry they are not natural early risers, but regular morning exercise can help adjust your circadian rhythm, helping you with that early wake-up.

Studies suggest that morning exercisers may experience a post-exercise reduction in blood pressure that may continue throughout the day.

And as a bonus, starting the day on a positive note with a workout can boost your mood and productivity.


Afternoon activators

Research suggests that physical performance indicators, such as strength and endurance, might peak in the afternoon. If you are training with personal bests in mind, shifting to afternoon workouts might be for you.

Afternoon exercise can serve as an effective stress relief valve, especially after a hard day. If you are looking to switch out some of your less healthy coping mechanisms, an end-of-day workout could be a game-changer.


Consistency is the winner

When it comes to exercise, the real winner is consistency. The important thing is to find the time that suits your schedule and lifestyle and stick to it. The benefits of exercise are not limited to a specific time of day, so get out there, get moving and step into a healthier you!


Unlocking the consistency code

Whether it be morning ‘sum salutations’ or an evening jog, there are ways to build a consistent exercise routine. Here are some tips:

1. Set realistic goals.
Becoming an Olympic swimmer might be a fun idea, but it is not a reasonable expectation for most. Stay realistic to avoid discouragement.

2. Start slow and build up.
Want to start running? Great! Start with a short walk-run, not a long-distance dash.

3. Consider your personal style.
Are you a lone wolf or do you prefer to be part of a pack?

4. Remember rest and recovery
You are not a machine. Rest and recovery are essential to avoid your gains being undone by sickness or injury.

5. Ditch perfectionism. We all have that friend who eagerly starts something, misses a day and then gives it up altogether. You are human – you will miss days and have days where you do not hit personal bests. That is OK. Keep going!