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Morning or Evening? How Should Busy People Pick The Optimal Time To Work Out

Morning or Evening? How Should Busy People Pick The Optimal Time To Work Out

Should you exercise in the morning or evening?

This is one of those debates that could go on indefinitely, much like the “chicken or the egg” conundrum. However, we will say that working out in the morning or evening is always good for your health even if one time slot has advantages over the other. We will be giving you some of the pros and cons of each so you can decide for yourself which time of the day is ideal for your needs.

The Pros of A Morning Workout

When you wake up, all of your muscles are relaxed and you’re likely to feel lethargic – exercise is the perfect remedy for this. Furthermore, a morning workout wakes you entire body up, including your metabolism. This means you’re more likely to lose weight when exercising in the morning as opposed to the evening. Moreover, if you don’t eat a big breakfast (especially not carbs) you will burn even more fat, according to PubMed studies.

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A different study by Appalachian State University found that exercising at 7 a.m. lowers your blood pressure and improves sleep quality.

The Bad Points of Working Out in The Morning

You need to have the motivation to get up early each and every day. It’s too easy to hit the snooze button when the alarm goes off! It’s worth keeping in mind that you will probably have to get up earlier than normal if you want to exercise properly. You should also note that mornings can sometimes be hectic, especially if you have to go into work earlier than normal, which means you might be tempted to avoid exercising from time to time.

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Evening Workouts Have Some Advantages

If you’ve had a stressful day at work, exercising is the ideal way to take your mind off things. On top of this, your body has had a chance to wake up and all of your muscles will be ready for the most strenuous of workouts. A study conducted by the American College of Chest Physicians found that your lungs are at peak performance in the late afternoon, making exercising much easier.

One final point about working out in the evening: it can also help you get to sleep! We said earlier that morning workouts are best for getting a good night’s sleep, but if you exercise at least two hours before bedtime, you should find that sleep comes just as easily since you’re burning off excess energy and calories. However, exercising too close to bedtime will likely have the opposite effect so try not to leave it too late!

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The Cons of Evening Workouts

Sometimes when you’ve had an exhausting day at work, any kind of exercise is the last thing on your mind. We’ve all had days like this. It’s unavoidable, unfortunately. You might also have some unexpected family commitments to attend to after work, means that going to the gym isn’t possible. This general lack of control over what might happen each evening makes it more likely that people will skip workouts, and once people miss too many they might stop exercising completely.

Okay, so what’s the best time to exercise?

If you want to lose weight and maintain a strict schedule, morning workout is probably your best option. If, however, you want to exercise when your body is most alert and optimized for performance, evening workout might be preferred. Of course, it’s important to note that everyone is different – some people are naturally morning people, while others are night owls – so, your optimal time might be suited to a particular time of the day regardless of what scientific evidence says.

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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

12 Stretching Exercises to Increase Your Flexibility

12 Stretching Exercises to Increase Your Flexibility

When thinking about stretching and learning how to become flexible, consider you are doing more than just elongating and strengthening your muscles. You are, in fact, improving circulation of the blood (lymphatic system), and optimizing the depth of your breath, which further enhances circulation[1].

Stretching and yoga aren’t just trends; they are practices that have been utilized by humans arguably for hundreds of thousands of years or more. In many cases, modern humans have simply forgotten much of their ancestry, and stretching/yoga is certainly an integral part.

The following stretching routines, if practiced consistently (every day, or a few times a week), will improve your physical and mental well-being, so let’s get into them!

Here’s a breakdown of all the exercises I’ve covered in the video:

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1. Standing Hamstring Stretch

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    • Stand straight and tall with your feet hip-width apart, knees just slightly bent, and arms by your sides.
    • Exhale as you bend forward (think of a door hinge movement at the hips), lowering your head toward the floor (imagine the top of your head being parallel with the floor), while keeping your head, neck, and shoulders relaxed (do not tense up).
    • Wrap your arms around the backs of your legs, or simply grab and hold the back of your legs; holding anywhere from 45 seconds to two minutes.
    • Bend your knees and slowly “roll up” back to the standing position when you’re done.

    2. Downward Dog

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      • Start standing with your feet hip-width apart.
      • While exhaling, hinge at the hips and lower your head toward the floor.
      • Place your hands/palms on the ground.
      • Step back with your feet while keeping a neutral back/spine and with your head/neck in-line with your shoulders and arms.

      3. Deep Lunge and Twist

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        • Start standing with your feet together hip width apart.
        • Take a large step forward with your right foot.
        • Bend your right knee and drop into a lunge, keeping your left leg as straight as you can behind you with your toes on the ground, so you feel a stretch at the front of your left thigh.
        • Place your right hand on the floor or in a pray position, and twist your upper body to the right as you extend your right arm toward the ceiling (for a deeper stretch).
        • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes while taking slow and steady breaths.
        • Repeat on the other side.

        4. Piriformis Stretch

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        See the source image

           

          • Sit on the floor with both legs extended in front of you to start.
          • Cross your left leg over your right, and place your left foot flat on the floor.
          • Place your left hand on the floor behind your body.
          • Place your right hand on your left quad or your right elbow on your left knee (as shown), and press your left leg to the right as you twist your torso to the left.
          • If the spinal rotation causes back discomfort, remove the twist and simply use your right hand to pull your left quad in and to the right.

          5. Figure Four Stretch

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            • Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor.
            • Cross your left foot over your right quad.
            • Lift your right leg off the floor. Grab onto the back of your right leg and gently pull it toward your chest.
            • When you feel a comfortable stretch, hold there.
            • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
            • Switch sides and repeat.

            6. 90/90 Stretch

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              • Sit with your right knee bent at 90-degrees in front of you, calf perpendicular to your body and the sole of your foot facing to the left. Keep your left foot flexed.
              • Let your leg rest flat on the floor.
              • Place your left knee to the left of your body, and bend the knee so that your foot faces behind you. Keep your left foot flexed.
              • Keep your right butt cheek on the floor. Try to move the left cheek as close to the floor as possible. It may not be possible if your hips are tight.
              • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
              • Repeat on the other side.

              7. Frog Stretch

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              See the source image

                 

                • Start on all fours.
                • Slide your knees wider than shoulder-width apart.
                • Turn your toes out and rest the inner edges of your feet flat on the floor.
                • Ensure your legs are maintaining approximately a 90-degree angle (squared off).
                • Shift your hips back toward your heels.
                • Move from your hands down to your forearms to get a deeper stretch, if possible.
                • Hold for for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

                8. Butterfly Stretch

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                  • Sit tall on the floor with the soles of your feet together, knees bent out to the sides.
                  • Hold onto your feet (or ankles), engage your abs slightly to keep an upright posture with steady breathing, and slowly lower your body toward your feet as far as you can while pressing your knees toward the floor. Keep a neutral spine during this stretch.
                  • If you cannot lower your torso, then simply hold the stretch and aim to lower your knees closer to the ground gradually.
                  • Hold this stretch for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

                  9. Tricep Stretch

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                    • Kneel, sit, or stand tall with feet hip-width apart, arms extended overhead.
                    • Bend your right elbow and reach your right hand to touch the top middle of your back.
                    • Reach your left hand overhead and grasp just below your right elbow.
                    • Gently pull your right elbow down and toward your head.
                    • Switch arms and repeat.

                    10. Extended Puppy Pose

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                    See the source image
                      • Start on all fours.
                      • Move your arms forward a few inches.
                      • Push your hips up and back halfway toward your heels, or until you feel a deep stretch.
                      • Push through the palms of your hands to keep your arms straight and engaged.
                      • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

                      11. Neck Stretch and Release

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                        • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, or sit down with your back straight and chest lifted.
                        • Drop your right ear to your right shoulder.
                        • To deepen the stretch, gently press down on your head with your right hand.
                        • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

                        12. Standing Quad Stretch

                        See the source image
                          • Stand with your feet together.
                          • Bend your left knee and use your left hand to pull your left foot toward your butt. Keep your knees together.
                          • If you need to, put one hand on a wall for balance.
                          • Squeeze your glutes to increase the stretch in the front of your legs.
                          • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
                          • Repeat on the other leg.

                          Conclusion

                          The key take away here is that consistency with your stretching routine, followed by good quality sleep and lots of hydration, will instantly begin to improve your quality of life. Find which stretches feel the best in your body and add them to a daily routine you can enjoy.

                          More on How to Become Flexible

                          Featured photo credit: Scott Broome via unsplash.com

                          Reference

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