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When Is the Best Time to Exercise?

Are you a morning or night person?

When you exercise may be an important factor in getting the results you want, according to two studies published in Cell Metabolism. To lose weight and be rejuvenated, for example, late morning exercising would be best. Conversely, to achieve optimal physical performance — say, up your 5-mile run to 6 miles or increase your bench press from 170 to 180 pounds — then evening exercise may be more beneficial.

All in all, the best time to exercise is whenever you will do it consistently.

Many people believe late-night exercise interferes with sleep, but a 2011 study found that when people exercised vigorously for 35 minutes right before bed they slept just as well as on nights when they didn’t exercise. And, 83% of people said they slept better when they exercised, even if it was late at night, than when they did not.

In some folks, late-night exercise may not interfere with sleep, but if you find that exercise keeps you up, wrap up your workouts a few hours before bedtime.

Exercising in the morning and afternoon has also been shown to be especially beneficial for fat burning and regulating your circadian rhythm, respectively.

What in the world is your circadian rhythm? To begin with, optimizing your circadian system has a lot to do with knowing the best times of day for you to exercise — or sleep or eat, for that matter. Nearly every cell in your body has its own circadian clock, which regulates the activation and deactivation of genes.

For instance, sleeping less than six hours a night will dramatically increase your risk of insulin resistance, which is at the core of most chronic diseases. In addition, meal timing has a significant impact on your circadian rhythm. Many organs need between 12 and 16 hours of rest, meaning a minimum of 12 hours without food, to allow for repairs to your system.

Start regulating your circadian clock by paying attention and adhering to your waking, sleeping and eating patterns. As a result, you’ll optimize your nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide — that’s a mouthful, let’s just call it NAD production — one of the most important metabolic coenzymes in your body that helps redox balance and energy metabolism.

In any case, exercising at the time of day that’s best for you is key to living a longer life.

If it helps give you some incentive to start with an exercise program sooner rather than later, an estimated age based on an exercise stress test was a better predictor of mortality, as compared to chronological age, according to one study, while another study found adding activity of any type reduced the risk of early death.

If you increase the intensity of your workout  — be it morning, noon, afternoon or night — you’ll improve your cardiorespiratory fitness, a key to longevity. You’ll also be in a better mood and improve your memory and thinking skills.

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