Friday, January 14, 2011

The Best Time To Exercise


How’s about now, is now good?

No?  Hmmm.  Alright then, what’s now looking like?

You’re not that spontaneous.  OK, well I understand, I’m not either.  Hectic schedule, lots of obligations, lots of appointments, other people’s schedules to consider.  It’s not that easy.

So turn something you already do on a regular basis into an opportunity for exercise, one which is sufficiently taxing to help you toward your goal.  Example?  Dog owners.  Dogs are exercise machines with hair.  And so much more, yes, but you can move beyond the spot at which the dog does his/her “business,” and take your walk to another dimension which will be beneficial for all critters, two- and four-legged alike.

Dropping the kids off at camp/lessons/etc.?  Perhaps you can connect with another parental taxi-er and buddy up for a workout together.  Someone once asked me to lead a stroller exercise group, and I couldn’t wait to show them how to boost their metabolism and build their muscles at the playground – no machines needed!

Or plan your exercise schedule in advance just like you write down your doctor’s visits and dental appointments, meetings and conferences.  If mornings work for you, choose mornings.  Lunch hour looks like it could accommodate some active time?  Super.  After work/before dinner?  Perfectly wonderful.  Just avoid scheduling vigorous activity within 2 hours of bedtime, or you’ll rev yourself up too much to sleep well.  Static developmental stretching before bed can be very productive and relaxing, though.

The best time to exercise is whatever time works for you.  Will you feel more energized for the rest of the morning if you start your day with exercise?  Yes.  Perhaps the first and second time you get up a little earlier than usual you’ll feel disoriented and maybe even a little cranky.  But mark my words, you’ll feel pumped up far into the morning after a workout.  (Just be sure to eat a little bit of something beforehand, please don’t run on empty.)

Sidebar:  There’s been lots of research published lately about how much better kids perform in the classroom when they start their day with exercise, not to mention how exercise can prevent dementia for us long-term-graduates.  Recommended reading:  “Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain” by Dr. John J. Ratey; and, “The Ultramind Solution” by Dr. Mark Hyman.

No matter what time of day works best for you, frequent exercise will improve your energy level and your sleep habits in a noticeable way within just a couple of weeks.  And when you notice how much better you feel, and start telling other people about it – and they start giving you that positive reinforcement about how much perkier you seem to be and how much better you look – then you are bound to stick with it!

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