Some things just go together perfectly; peanut butter and jelly, movies and popcorn, and Zack Morris and Kelly Kapowski. Another great combination is sleep and exercise. If you are treating your workouts right and being consistent it not only has a massive positive effect on your health and appearance but allows you to get better quality sleep each night.
What Benefits Does Exercise Actually Bring?
Well besides making you look good in those tight shorts, it goes far beyond just appearance. There’s a long list of benefits so here are some of the highlights:
- Increased muscle mass
- Decreased body fat
- Stronger bones
- Tougher joints
- Lower risk of heart disease
- Improved mood
- Improved strength and flexibility
- Stronger immune system
And, as we’re talking about here today, better sleep. When you exercise you allow your body to move in the way it was designed and your body rewards you with not just the outward appearance but mood boosting chemicals that make you feel good and motivate you to continue.
Exercise also helps to regulate your circadian rhythm which is involved with controlling your sleep cycle. Exercise in the day can boost daytime alertness and then bring on sleepiness at night.
When’s The Best Time Of Day To Exercise?
When it comes to exercise the best time of day to do it is the time where you are most likely to do it consistently. It may take some time to figure what sits best with you because the best exercise program is the one you are going to stick with.
I’ve exercised at all times of the day and found my sweet spot is around 11 am. I don’t know what it is about that time but it’s when I feel most motivated to go so I stick with it.
If you’re looking for a specific time to start out with there may be something to early morning workouts as it pertains to your sleep. It may seem odd that what you do early in the morning can have an impact later that night but that early morning workout can help set your body clock properly.
The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center had looked into this issue and found women who exercised in the morning averaged 70% better sleep than those who did in the evening.
If you are going to workout at night you don’t want it to be too intense as you may find it difficult to unwind as your body will still be pretty alert and wired after exercising. If you’re looking to do something later in the evening you’ll want something less intense such as walking or some yoga.
What Exercise Should You Be Doing?
This comes back to that consistency issue regarding the best time of day for you to exercise. The best workouts are the ones you will actually do. Ideally you want to find what appeals to you most and that you are more likely to stick with. I believe weight training is very important so I would try to incorporate that in but find what works best for you as it may be swimming, hiking, CrossFit, pilates, yoga, tennis, cinder block chopping or whatever!
The sweet spot for exercise appears to be around 150 minutes per week to improve cardiovascular and overall health so that would be 30 minutes a day Monday to Friday. You can do more but if you’re starting out this is a good place to begin. The focus now is to just get moving and you can get more detailed with things down the line.
So now you’re not only improving your health but enhancing your sleep every night. That’s a pretty win-win situation.