I've missed morning runs/walks. This was a shot taken coming back up over the hill on the home stretch of my morning run today (I know, not the best picture in the world...). It was the second time in two weeks I was able to fit in an early morning light run. And it felt great!
Not everyone wants to do a run, a walk or much movement at all in the morning for that matter. Granted, some light morning movement to start your day is generally a good thing to get your body going after a restful night. But if it's not for you, that's ok too.
It made me think again of that common question;
"When is the best time to exercise?"
...And the common (truthful) answer;
"The best time for YOU is when YOU can do it most consistently"
For many of us, the mornings are the least likely to be full of things that can take us away from a regular activity/exercise routine. I know that some of you may be thinking, "I'm not a morning person!". I believe you. Some are morning folks, and others are night owls (look into 'chronotypes' to learn more about that science - fascinating stuff) I do believe however quite often, we dismiss things without trying them out for a while. Like when a client says "I could never do a pushup" and then after actually practicing and working on them for 4-6 weeks, they're suddenly cracking out 5-10 pushups!! Same idea with waking up and creating a morning movement routine; it may be tough at first, but you also may end up really finding it easy and enjoyable after a while. And if not, you can say you legitimately tried it and it wasn't for you. All good!
When trying to figure out your best time of day to do your movement routine/activity/exercise (whatever you want to call it), use this checklist below:
1) When do I feel at my best and most energetic (most days)?
(morning, afternoon, evening...)
2) Is that time of day reasonable (most days) for me to be consistent with my activity/exercise?
Yes? - Make it happen!
No? - Continue to #3
3) When is my most consistently available time of day (most days) with the least responsibilities? (morning, afternoon, evening...)
4) Can I make that work for my regular activity/exercise routine (most days)?
Yes - Make it happen!
No? - Continue to #5
5) Where in my days (most days) do I have 'x' amount of time to accomplish 'a little bit more' activity/exercise than what I'm doing right now?
Make that 'little bit more' happen.
Nothing is perfect. Notice "most days" is mentioned in the checklist above. That's because nothing is perfect! Things WILL get in the way sometimes. That's ok, that's life. When figuring out a time that works for you, don't strive for perfection, strive for consistency and enjoyment. Even if it's not quite what you planned to do for your chosen exercise/activity routine, just be consistent. From consistency comes growth, and change. You may surprise yourself that one day you're suddenly realizing you're fitting in everything you wanted to originally, and now it seems to seamless to make it happen.
The Overlooked Element: Sleep
In discussing "when" you'll fit your exercise/activity routine into your days, DO NOT sacrifice or overlook your sleep. Trying to get up for morning workouts before work may seem good at first, but if you're sacrificing quantity and quality of sleep 3+ days per week, that eventually will catch you. And believe me, it's not good!
Like everything in life, there's a little give and take. If you choose to set your alarm 45min earlier in the mornings to try to get a nice walk in before work, then be sure you're also going to bed 45min earlier at night! Sacrificing sleep to fit a workout in is counter-productive. It also means, you need to look deeper and harder at your days to find better times to fit activity in your days (hint: think outside the box).
Whatever time of day YOU choose for YOUR routine(s), make it consistent and enjoyable. If you have these two elements in play, you're bound to feel good and hit your health goals!