There are those who love to start their day jogging at 6 o’clock in the morning and those who would never dream of wearing a pair of running shoes before noon and love to do sports after work, even to vent all the tensions accumulated during the day. But what’s the best time to practice? We talk about this topic with Professor Daniela Lucini, Head of Exercise Medicine at Humanitas.
The ideal time does not exist
No scientific evidence suggests the best time to do sport. There is no reliable evidence to suggest that more calories are burned at certain times of the day, but it is true that the chosen time can have an effect on our body. The most important thing, according to the experts, is to choose a time of day and not change it, so that doing exercise becomes a constant habit. It is good to follow the body clock that we have since birth and that cannot be changed. Our circadian rhythm determines whether we are more night owls or more dawn-breakers and this is to be recorded for what it is: there is little we can do to alter it. The circadian rhythm is influenced by the Earth’s rotation and is able to influence vital functions such as blood pressure, body temperature, hormone levels and heart rate, which play a very important role in preparing the body for exercise.
It is therefore important to choose when we feel best, even if there are other factors that we cannot avoid considering, such as working hours and family commitments.
“If the training is not particularly intense or competitive, but it is something we do with pleasure and fun, any time is fine – added Professor Lucini – The important thing is not to do it when you are too tired.
Morning training helps you stay consistent
If you have problems with consistency, choosing the morning as a time to train could be ideal. Research suggests that people who train in the morning tend to respect the commitment made with their bodies and not skip the appointment with the gym. Training in the morning means not letting other worries, unexpected events or delays interfere with the moment you decide to dedicate to sport. If you train in the morning, when your body temperature is lower, you should allow more time for the warm-up phase. When insomnia interferes with the intention of doing sports in the morning the only way to get full of energy is to put in place all the necessary measures to relax before going to sleep. These include avoiding late evening sports or eating too late, both activities that increase heart rate and body temperature.
“The morning remains the ideal time – confirmed Lucini – but not everyone is lucky enough to be able to combine physical activity and work needs. Another great time is the lunch break. It helps to relax and empty the mind. If we don’t find time in these two moments of the day, keeping active after work or in the evening is better than doing nothing”.
It is easier to do sport after work
Getting up early and doing exercise remains very often just a good intention. That’s why it’s easier to decide to train after work. For some people lunchtime is the best time to practice, especially if colleagues are keeping us company. Just have lunch after your workout. After a meal the blood that would need to flow into the muscles under stress, it heads all the way to the digestive system: after a hearty meal you need to wait up to 90 minutes before training.
How can I stay constant?
It’s ideal to try different moments of the day, taking into account all the factors and deciding which is really the best time in our day. The aim must be to find a moment to devote constantly to physical exercise, which must become an integral part of our daily routine. Once a habit has been established, changing times, places and activities can help you keep up, while continuing to train constantly. When you are still at the stage where the exercise needs to be included in our routine, however, it is better not to modify our programs.