Clients ask me all the time if there is one time that’s better than another to exercise. For fitness and weight loss my answer is always the same: whenever you will do it is the best time for you. Personally, I have always tried to get my exercise session in first thing in the morning. My rationale is that this way nothing that comes up during the day can interfere with my plans. Also it is when I have the most energy so it is my optimal time.
For many years, my husband found it best to go straight to the gym after work. He found it gave him that time to decompress before coming home. (As a high school teacher dealing with teenagers all day, I think that was a very wise move!) Now that he is semi-retired, he goes to the gym first thing in the morning. So at different times of your life, a different time may work better. It’s all good – whatever works for you is fine.
However if you have a specific goal in exercising, such as preventing cancer, you will find this recent study very interesting.
The researchers found exercising in the morning, particularly between 8 and 10 am, could lower your risk of cancer. The reason is that exercising at that time of the day seems to boost the circadian rhythm (our internal body clock), which helps suppress cancer.
Here’s the link to the timing: When it is dark, our bodies produce melatonin, a chemical that regulates sleep and affects other functions related to our circadian rhythm. Melatonin stops the spread of cancer and it is known that working out late or being up late (including shift work) slows the body’s production of it. One potential cause of cancer is circadian disruption. The two most powerful environmental cues affecting the circadian rhythm are food consumption and light.
It’s a well established fact that regular physical activity throughout lifetime can reduce cancer risk. So if working out in the afternoon works best for you, go for it. According to this new research, this cancer protective effect could be most beneficial when physical activity is done in the morning.
When is your preferred time to exercise?
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