Although I have a very close and happy marriage, over the years, my husband and I have figured out that there is one thing that we’re not going to do together — exercise.
That’s because when it comes to working out, our timing is just plain off.
While my husband is an early riser and likes to start his day with time on the treadmill and lifting free weights, I’m barely able to get going in the morning hours and would rather workout in the afternoon.
I’ve always told him, it doesn’t matter when you exercise, as long as you exercise.
Unfortunately, a new study may have just proven me wrong…
Revving your metabolism
Up until now, it was understood that the time of day you eat is important to keep your metabolism running strong and that exercise also acts to rev it up, but it was unclear whether the effects of exercise on energy metabolism would change based on the time of day you’re active.
Researchers from the University of California decided to change that.
Using mice, they were able to monitor changes in their metabolism that occurred during exercise in either evening or morning sessions. And, they were able to find one specific time of the day when exercise delivers the biggest benefits — mid-morning.
In fact, they found that compared to later exercise sessions, working out during the mid-morning hours:
- Boosted metabolism
- Burned more carbs and ketone bodies
- Broke down a greater amount of fats and amino acids
And, that’s not all.
“We discovered that exercising at the correct time of day — around mid-morning — results in more oxygen in the cells and a more rejuvenating effect on the body,” said Paolo Sassone-Corsi, Ph.D., Donald Bren Professor and director of the Center for Epigenetics and Metabolism at UCI’s School of Medicine.
In other words, mid-morning exercise can also help you to feel better and more energetic than working out later in the day.
Getting your morning exercise
So, if you’re like me and are an afternoon or evening exerciser, you’re missing out on a lot of benefits morning exercise can bring to your body.
But, how do you switch your schedule when working out in the morning seems like a grind?
Well, studies show that you’re more likely to stick to exercise when you view it as enjoyable and not just necessary, meaning you should pick a workout that’s fun.
If you love to dance, take an aerobic dance class at your local gym or pop in a fun DVD at home. If swimming is your thing, hit the pool or if you prefer yoga, go early. If you’re stuck in an office, take a brisk mid-morning walk.
Additional research has found that the likelihood that you’ll enjoy exercising goes up if you focus on building skills and competence rather than comparing yourself to others. So, you may find morning exercise more fun if you choose a new activity or one you would like to improve on such as tennis or racquetball.
Just remember, while it’s now clear that the time of day you exercise does matter, the most important thing is to stick to it and stay active.
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- New UCI-led study defines best time to exercise to get the most rejuvenating results — University of California – Irvine
- How to fit exercise into your schedule — Easy Health Options®