Do you know when the best time to exercise is? Now that many of us are working from home, our daily routines and schedules will probably have changed a lot (sidenote: we're still trying to figure out how to fix our body clock), including the time we workout.
With gyms shut for a large portion of the year, some of us have gotten into alternative ways of keeping fit, whether it's joining virtual workout classes or going for runs or bike rides outdoors. But when is the best and most effective time to do so?
So what is the best time to exercise?
You've probably read lots of different takes on this, with some experts claiming that mornings are best whilst others swear that it's the evenings. But according to Dr Satchin Panda, Professor at Salk Institute, San Diego, and author of The Circadian Code, the best time for your work out really depends on what type of exercise you'll be doing.
For example, Dr Panda explains that the ideal time for getting outside and moving is between 6am and 9am. "A brisk walk, or any outdoor aerobic activity such as running, jogging or swimming, in the presence of daylight is an excellent way to synchronise your brain clock," he says.
"This will also enhance brain function and improve your mood for the day. Exposure to daylight increases alertness and reduces depression. On colder days, you also activate brown fat and increase fat-burning potential."
For anything for low-impact or moderate like walking and yoga, aim to do it at lunchtime between 12pm and 2pm. This is great, especially during a working day, as it will energise you and help you feel more alert in the afternoon.
Meanwhile the best time for sports and aerobic exercises is between 3pm and 6pm. "This is a great time to exercise, as our body temperature goes up and muscle strength and flexibility start to peak," says Dr Panda. "The muscles absorb and use nutrients in the late afternoon, when repair occurs. Motor coordination is best now and blood flow and blood pressure are higher in the afternoon, which improves the oxygenation of muscles."
As for anything like swimming, gymnastics, yoga, Pilates and stretching, Dr Panda suggests the evening, specifically between 6pm and 8pm. This is because our body temperature is at its highest and muscles are more flexible. So this is a good time for stretching. Physical activity also aids digestion and promotes better sleep so they work well as pre dinner and bed activities.