Tuesday April 18 2017

What is the best time to exercise?


By Dr Vincent Karuhanga

What is the best time to exercise?
— Amos

Dear Amos: Many working people’s schedules are full in evening while for others it may be difficult to wake up early in the morning, making it difficult to regularly exercise at these different times. This, therefore means, that the best time for one to exercise depends on personal schedule and lifestyle.
People who consistently exercise in the morning or evening make their bodies ready for exercise at that time of day and may get uncomfortable switching to other times.

Exercising before breakfast means that the body has to burn fat for fuel, as the glycogen stores will be depleted after a night of fasting making morning exercise good if one wants to lose weight. The endorphins (the body’s own aspirin) are released when one exercises to help keep one mentally alert. So with both mental and physical benefits, morning exercise seems better.
That said, one’s body temperature is at its lowest in the morning, making muscles colder and less flexible hence reducing efficiency and risking injury. A morning workout therefore requires one to warm-up properly which may be difficult given less available time as one rushes to work. Morning exercise does not interfere with sleep as happens with evening workouts which make people’s bodies active by the time they go to bed.

Whilst morning workouts seem to have their benefits, evening workouts when the body is warmer (our body temperature is at its highest between 4pm to 5pm but being lowest just before waking) are better, especially if one requires high intensity, strength and stamina training. Body strength and endurance therefore are higher late in the afternoon. Injuries are less common because the muscles are warmer and more flexible. Higher levels of testosterone in the evening play a key role in muscle building.