There are competing arguments around when is best to exercise to either help increase productivity, lose weight, or just to try and stay healthy. I’m sure you’ve seen the countless LinkedIn posts by people claiming to get up at 4am, drink a kale smoothie, complete a marathon and then go in to work to achieve everything because they’re an amazing human people. I’m also equally sure that you are pretty sick of them. Now I don’t disagree that getting up for a run (or any exercise for that matter) does help you be more productive but this doesn’t mean it would be the optimum for everyone.
The obvious perk to exercise first thing in the morning is that you are guaranteed to do it. Otherwise, work, family, and life commitments have a habit of squeezing out that very well intentioned run you were planning later in the day. It also builds a routine and ensures you will complete your exercise every day. Exercising also helps to wake you up so you’re bright and fresh to go about your day which can only be better than bleary eyed and groggy.
However, some people’s circadian rhythms are hard-wired differently. This makes it harder to jump out of bed with a spring in your step. These people thrive later in the day, hence the term, night owl. These “Night Owls” come alive later in the day and instead of trying to fight their body’s natural biological urges, they can run when they are full of energy and motivated to run. This will increase their chances of committing to it as well as pushing harder and further.
The most important thing to remember here is that you should find the best time that works for you. This may take trial and error, running a few mornings in a row, then a few lunchtimes or evenings. You can will then identify the time where you feel the most comfortable, motivated and energised. Once you’ve cracked it, develop that routine and commit to it. There are no more reasons not to get out there!
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Toby Swann, Associate – IT and Software Engineering