The early bird catches the exercise bug

The early bird catches the exercise bug

I have always recommended that people aim to do their exercise first thing in the morning.   Perhaps its because that’s the time I tend to do mine or that anecdotally it is better for fat burning.  Or that I think everyone should enjoy the peace and tranquility of seeing the sun come up.  Mind you, if everyone was up early it might not be so peaceful and tranquil.

Without a lot of research to back it up, I’ve told people that it is easier to build a routine of regular exercise if you do it before all the other demands of the day get in the way.  Well now there is some research to support mornings being the best time for exercise.

Jawbone, the activity-tracking device company, have just released some findings showing that exercising in the morning can help you stay consistent with your workouts.

Researchers analysed the data from more than one million people who track their steps and workouts using Jawbone’s fitness tracking products and apps. The results confirm that people who exercise in the morning are more likely to work out consistently.  Consistently was defined as three or more workouts per week.

According to Jawbone the magic hour for workouts is six o’clock in the morning. About 11 percent of the people who exercise three or more days a week exercised at 6 a.m.; a far greater percentage than any other hour of the day.  Five a.m. was the second most popular time for consistent exercisers.  Nine a.m. was the third most popular time and I’m guessing this is all those people who don’t need to fit in their exercise around work and can go the  gym or hit the paths after all the workers have finished.

In comparison, people who were inconsistent with their workouts tended to hit the gym around 6 p.m.

When the researchers took a closer look through all the information gathered by users, some interesting patterns emerged.

If you want to work out early at home, do it in front of your television.  They found that people who are most consistent with their home workouts tended to have the TV on.  For me personally, I find that having the TV on distracts me and I often do a few more exercises to get me to the end of the news or whatever I am watching.

If you are just not a morning person, don’t worry.  There were a few exceptions to the morning exercise trend.  People who joined exercise classes like Zumba, pilates or yoga were most likely to work out in the evenings.

So if you are going to exercise in the afternoons or evenings, your best chance of sticking with it is to join a class or group or perhaps play an organised sport that trains in the afternoons.

If your exercise is just not as consistent as you want and you are trying to find a routine that works, my suggestion is to use the holidays to get up early to do something, knowing that you can always have a nap later in the day!

Whatever time you exercise, give yourself the best chance of being consistent by developing habits and support structures that make it easier to get moving.  And with the holiday season about to hit, try to stick as closely to your normal routine as possible.

It’s harder to restart a routine than it is to keep it going.

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David Beard
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