What’s The Best Time To Exercise
Experts offer tips on finding the best time of day for your workout.
Some people swear by a 6 a.m. jog to get their hearts racing and get them psyched up for the day. Others wouldn’t dream of breaking a sweat before noon, preferring a walk around the neighborhood after dinner. But is any one time of day the best time to exercise?
The truth is that there’s no reliable evidence to suggest that calories are burned more efficiently at certain times of day. But the time of day can influence how you feel when exercising.
The most important thing, experts say, is to choose a time of day you can stick with, so that exercise becomes a habit.
I Did Yoga Every Morning For 2 Weeksheres What I Learned
Rushing is my natural rhythm, even when I try to slow down. Although I hit the snooze button at least three times most days, once I’m out of bed I hurtle through my morning routine and speed walk the entire 15 minutes it takes for me to get to the office. If I do manage to get up at the sound of my first alarm, I go for a run and then hurry about as usual. The problem is, this constant go-go-go often puts me into a frantic state long before I’ve even written my day’s to-do list at work.
In an attempt to ease into my day more mindfully, I decided to work yoga into my morning routine. Studies suggest that doing yoga can relieve anxiety and make you more flexible, and since I’m a high-strung person with a running habit , I could use both of those benefits. Plus, I’ve been meaning to return to a regular practice. Ever since moving last summerand saying good-bye to the studio where I was a membermy mat has spent most of its time rolled up in the corner of my living room. I was never a morning yoga-doer before, but it’s a habit I’ve always wanted to get into since it all but ensures you’ll actually hit the mat.
“Setting up a regular morning practice is beneficial because it creates a ritualit sets the tone for the day,” says Julie Erickson, owner of Endurance Pilates and Yoga Studio in Boston. “Also, by practicing first thing in the morning, there are no distractions or tasks that will get in the way.”
Time Your Practice With Your Bodys Rhythms
Yogis talk about the idea of svadhyaya, or self-study, underpinning a long-term yoga practice. This means that we allow ourselves to explore the effects of the practice in our body, mind, and; day-to-day life.
Svadhyaya starts with understanding how our body responds at different times of day. For example, most people are stiff just after sleep, so diving into a sweaty hot yoga class might not be appropriate. Others might love it.
Track your energy levels throughout the day. Do you feel energetic after arriving at the office, only to fall into a slump just after lunch that lasts until evening? An active yoga practice right after work could be beneficial to return energy to your body.
On the other hand, if you are a serious gym go-er already, you may not have the power to propel into a tough active practice if youve already been to the gym. I once fell out of a headstand because I went to class after a rough shoulder & back day.
Evaluate how you feel at different points in the day to decide when to practice. Each person is unique!
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When Is The Best Time To Practice Yoga
Should you practice yoga in the morning or evening? Great question!
As usual, the answer is more complex than youd think and really comes down to your personal preference. From an Ayurvedic standpoint, it is recommended you wake up in between 4 and 6AM when the world is still asleep, and practice meditation and asana. From a modern world perspective, its recommended that you practice yoga either first thing in the morning or in the early evening.
However, many factors are involved in each of our decisions on when to practice. Your work schedule, habits, belief system, and familial responsibilities may make the decision for you.
For example, if your morning involves getting rambunctious kids dressed, fed, and on the bus, a morning practice may be unrealistic. The same is true if youre committed to evening functions throughout the week.
Your personal constitution may also factor into the decision. Some people are raring to move at 6 AM, while others wont even speak until theyve had a few cups of coffee. And even if you do have a quiet morning, it may not be the right time for you if you have seasoned habits you practice in the hour before heading to work. Or if you find yourself yawning by 8 PM, you might want to try practicing earlier in the day.
Read on to explore the many benefits to both morning and evening yoga practice.
So When Is The Best Time To Do Yoga
While there are individual benefits to morning and evening yoga sessions, it comes down to finding the time that works best for you. To get the most benefit, it’s all about consistency over time. Think about your goals, when you feel the most energized and motivated, and when you have dedicated time free of distractions, and form your routine accordingly. Find the time that best fits your lifestyle and schedule, and it’ll be easier to stick with it.
The only time to avoid doing yoga is right after a meal. Any kind of exercise on a full stomach can be uncomfortable, so it’s recommended to wait at least two hours after eating before stepping on your yoga mat.
Certain times of day are better for practice depending on your specific goals. If you want to lose weight, do yoga at a time when you have the most energy and are most excited to work up a sweat. To gain the most flexibility, try practicing in the afternoon or evening when your body is already warmed up and flexible. If your goal is relaxation, evening or nighttime practice is best, to keep in line with your body’s natural Circadian rhythm. Be sure to wait until after all of your family duties are done , so you can be present and focus on your practice with no distractions or disturbances.;
Finding the time that makes the most sense for you is key to staying consistent and unlocking yoga’s incredible benefit on your mind, body, and life.
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Benefits Of Yoga In The Morning
Some yoga traditions, such as the Ashtanga system of Pattabhi Jois, advocate doing yoga asanas;early in the morning, if possible, before the sun rises. Many Ashtanga home practitioners stick to this routine and most Mysore-style classes are offered at this time.
Practicing yoga in the morning can give you a boost of energy and clarity and help set the tone for the rest of your day. Many people have routines that are more manageable or predictable in the morning, which can make it easier to stick with a regular morning practice. In addition, many people find that they have more energy for exercise in the morning compared to the end of a long day. Some people may also prefer to do yoga on an empty stomach to avoid cramps or indigestion.
Energetic practices are ideal in the morning to keep you alert and energized. You might opt for vinyasa flow classes that incorporate rounds of sun salutations or try invigorating backbends like wheel pose or inversions such as headstand or handstand .
What Is The Best Time To Practice Yoga
Sunrise is the best time to practice yoga. Brahma Muhurta, which is 3:40 am, is not a practical option for a lot of us. Therefore, according to experts, sunrise time is ideal and practical.
Similar to how you start your day with coffee or tea, start it with yoga, making it a regular morning practice. Breathing in the fresh air in the morning is ideal and helps you prepare for the challenges of the day ahead. Whats best about a morning yoga routine is that you get an energy boost that Wno coffee or tea can beat.
While the poses activate you and make you flexible for the day, yogic breathing stimulates, clears, and energizes your mind. It also keeps you fresh and rejuvenated. Yoga practice in the morning will keep you balanced and help you to calmly manage traffic jams, busy work schedules, and household chores.
Once you wake up, its best to empty your bowels, brush your teeth and start practicing. This way, you are less likely to skip the practice or feel too tired to do it later in the day Mornings are when your muscles and joints are the stiffest. Yoga stretches and adds flexibility to them, thus helping you be on your toes throughout the day with ease.
Practicing yoga early in the morning is an excellent way to refresh your mind and spirit and get ready to take on the challenges of the day. It will ultimately awaken you and make you embrace the vibrancy of the day.
Also, sweat production is low in the mornings, preventing dehydration.
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Benefits Of Morning Workouts
Morning workouts truly do have an edge, according to multiple research studies, and offer a list of benefits that might even sway some night owls to get their fitness on in the morning.;
Can help you establish a fitness routine: People who exercise in the morning are often more consistent simply because morning workouts leave less room for excuses. If you workout first thing in the morning, you can’t skip it in the evening because duties piled up.;
May improve your sleep cycle: Waking up early might be difficult at first, but research suggests that a morning exercise habit can shift your circadian rhythm so that your body is naturally more alert in the morning and more tired in the evening, so you fall asleep earlier and can exercise in the morning again. Morning exercise also seems to boost deep sleep more than evening exercise, according to some research. Plus, sleep helps facilitate muscle growth, so you might even see more strength gains if your circadian rhythm and sleep cycle improve.;
Why Is Recovery Important
Practically from birth, were told that exercise is good for you. But its more accurate to say that;the right dose;of exercise is goof for you: too much too fast just breaks you down.
Thats why you need to;rest;and;refuel;between workouts: you have to give your body time to rebuild damaged muscle and connective tissue, to relax and de-stress, and forge new neural connections so youre stronger and faster next time you face the weights, the gym, the treadmill, or the track.
Depending on the type of exercise you do, certain activities hasten your bodys return to;homeostasis; a balanced, low-stress state so that youre fully recovered next time you work out.
Yoga is a perfect example.
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Consult With A Professional Yoga Instructor
The easiest way to determine when is the best time to practice yoga is to consult with a professional yoga instructor. Theyll have the inside track on what times are best for your lifestyle. This might include your waking hours, mid-morning, mid-afternoon, or even your evenings. Depending on your yoga goals and desires, you may also wish to consider using Yoga mats during your mornings and evenings. These mats can be found in sizes suitable for all different types of fitness levels and body types.
When Is The Best Time To Do Yoga And For How Long
While the time of day you practice yoga will depend on your preference, how long you practice will depend on factors such as your schedule, level of physical activity, and any exercise goals you might have. Although most yoga classes are 60 minutes, there are also 45-, 75, and 90-minute classes available, as well as shorter options if you’re short on time. Research shows that just 20 minutes of yoga a day is still enough to reap the benefits of the practice.
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The Best Time To Do Yoga Is When It Best Serves You
The bottom line is there really is no perfect answer to the question, When is the best time to do yoga? Ultimately, the best time to do yoga is the time of day when yoga serves you best and that may change from day to day or year to year.
Just like everything else in your yoga practice, when you choose to practice is a deeply personal and unique decision. There is no uniform best time to do yoga because the best time to practice is the best time for you personally.
Some days you may love your 6am flows and other days, you may roll out your mat at 11pm. Both are equally valid and both are equally beneficial.
So whether youre an early bird or a night owl, whatever time of day you choose to practice yoga is the perfect and absolute best time for you in that moment.
Whenever your practice calls you, unroll your mat and tune in with your body and breath. Whether its the early morning, middle of the day, or late at night, your practice will still serve you well.
The Best Suggested Time Of Day For Senior Exercise
Many theories exist that recommend different times of day as best for working out. However, as you age, there is no one specific time of day that is best. Arthritis symptoms, for example, may be more active at certain times of day. Conditions such as Alzheimer’s dementia can vary throughout the day, and this can also impact the effectiveness of your exercise routine at different times of day. Understanding your specific conditions and how they can affect your ability to exercise will help you to reach your fitness goals. Always consult your doctor about the best type of exercise plan for you.
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Is There A Best Time Of Day To Meditate
Monique Derfuss, a gong practitioner and KRI-certified Kundalini Yoga instructor, says yogis refer to the ideal time to practice yoga and meditation as the ambrosial hours, which are the 2 1/2 hours before sunrise when the sun is at a 60-degree angle to the Earth.
The reason for this designation? Derfuss says the energy is most supportive of spiritual work, and theres a unique stillness.
Although this routine is part of many peoples lives, Derfuss recognizes that it isnt for everyone. With a busy lifestyle, anytime you can meditate is a good time, she said.
Its a great way to start and end your day and an excellent break during the day, and in as little as 3 minutes, you can begin experiencing benefits, Derfuss said.
Erin Doppelt, a meditation expert, says while living in India, many of the gurus she studied with also encouraged a meditation practice in the morning around 3 to 6 a.m. These are considered the magic hours where time sits still, and you can connect to the energy of the universe uninterrupted, Doppelt said.
While she does suggest trying out that time if it sounds interesting to you, she also points out that the modern-day interpretation is to meditate based on your natural circadian rhythm. For some people, this means meditating first thing in the morning as their body is waking up, or around 2 to 3 p.m., which is the period to curve a natural energy slump, she said.
The Pros Of Morning Yoga
Here’s the lowdown on practicing yoga with the sunrise and tips to maximize your morning practice. First, the good news:
1. Optimize Your Mobility for the Day
Do you have aches, pains and stiffness when your alarm goes off? There’s not a cure for joint aging, but there is a way to minimize the pain.
“You can reduce the severity and frequency of morning joint stiffness by being more active and engaging in exercise to increase muscle strength and flexibility,” says Harvard Medical School’s William Kormos, M.D., Practicing a variety of yoga poses will open your hips, lengthen your spine and stretch your shoulders so your body reaches its optimal mobile state for the day.
2. Kick-Start Your Metabolism
Yoga is known to boost your metabolism and maintain steady blood sugar levels. And according to a recent study published by the International Medical Sciences Academy, yoga may be even more effective than vigorous physical exercise in stimulating the metabolism, promoting better digestion and reducing blood sugar levels. So feel free to enjoy that cookie you’ve earned it.
3. Best for Energy and Digestion
Traditional yogis preach that it’s best to practice on an empty stomach. That’s great for early-morning practitioners because you’ve already digested your food during sleep. Otherwise, your body would expend more energy digesting your food than it does holding a pose. Practice before breakfast or have a small serving of fruit an hour before.
4. Stay Grounded All Day
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Strengthen Your Immune System
If your job or commute requires being around other people, you would be well served by a morning yoga practice. Health and wellness expert Sophie Jaffe notes how stress is a leading cause of sickness especially when it comes to our immune system. When we let stress control our lives were more susceptible to health problems. Yoga has been shown to help lower stress hormones , calms the nervous system, and starts your day in a more mindful, intentional space. In stretching and moving, we release any stagnant energy stuck within our cells, allowing it to remove harmful toxins in our bodies.
If you dont have time for a full practice in the morning, you can opt for practicing a few targeted asanas to boost your immune system. Jaffe tells us that a Downward Dog encourages more blood flow to the sinuses and a Standing Backbend strengthens the lungs, keeps the nasal passage open for breath and detoxifies the adrenal glands which can often become exasperated due to stress. Inverted poses like Shoulder Stand, Plow pose, and Bridge pose are also great to boost the lymphatic system to help ward off coughs and colds.