6 Times You Should Exercise (and 4 Times You Definitely Shouldn't)


By: , – Kim Tranell, Woman's Day
9/30/2013 12:00 AM   :  34 comments   :  24,193 Views

Could when you work out help you drop pounds, or even boost your overall health? “The best time to exercise boils down to what works for you consistently,” says Jessica Matthews, an exercise physiologist and spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise. That said, there are times when exercising will keep you at your physical peak, improve your mental health and maximize your calorie burn. And there are other times that are best avoided, as they up your chances for illness or injury. Here’s how to be sneakily strategic. 
1. Exercise in the Late Afternoon

If you're looking for the sweet spot for exercise, science says to lace up your sneaks between 4 and 5 P.M., when your body temp is at its highest. Studies have shown that boosts your workout—your muscles are more flexible, your strength is at its peak and your perceived exertion is at a low (read: exercise feels easier). This doesn’t mean you should quit lunchtime Zumba if that’s what works for you, cautions Matthews. But next time you’re considering upping the intensity with a boot camp class, schedule accordingly! 

2. Exercise in the Morning

Good news for early risers: In a small study of patients at the Mollen Clinic in Scottsdale, AZ, 75% of morning exercisers stuck with their routines, as compared to only 25% of evening exercisers. Plus, "you start your day off with a high burn, and get your energy up and metabolism running," says Jenn Burke, Fitness Manager for Crunch Gyms in Los Angeles. To maximize your body's ability to burn fat in the A.M., Burke suggests a snack with a good protein-to-carb ratio—like a smoothie made with frozen fruit and Greek yogurt—as soon as you wake up.

3. Exercise with a Head Cold

Obviously, you shouldn’t hit the gym if you’re feeling like death. But when plagued only by above-the-neck symptoms—such as a sore throat or runny nose—moderate exercise might help, says Thomas G. Weidner, PhD, a professor at Ball State University. His research on exercise and the common cold has found that the mood-boosting chemicals released during exercise make symptoms feel less severe (though they don’t actually improve). To avoid prolonging your cold, work out at about half your typical intensity, and consider at-home and outdoor exercises, so you don’t spread germs to other gym-goers. Matthews suggests a restorative yoga DVD or a 20-minute walk followed by stretching.

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What is your experience with exercise and what time of day is best for you? 

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    It would really help if you guys didn't simply restate others posts. We get the title is misleading. 20 comments later we get to "you need to click the link beneath". It takes energy to be negative (sarcastic, ironic, smart-assed), perhaps that energy could be spent getting more information or doing something productive. :) - 10/27/2013   10:41:49 AM
  • 33
    So WHEN am I not supposed to exercise????? - 10/21/2013   10:31:21 AM
  • 32
    All it is - a plug for Woman's Day magazine. - 10/6/2013   4:56:08 PM
    Here's a question for the "experts", what times of day should I exercise if I work thirteen hour overnight shifts??? I can't go to work exhausted and may day doesn't work along the afternoon work out suggestions that they make here...
    - 10/4/2013   12:36:46 AM
  • 30
    Thank You! Good information. I learned some things! :) - 9/30/2013   10:00:45 PM
  • 29
    Please let me strongly suggest that you rewrite the lead in to this story. The part you printed has nothing to do with the headline. - 9/30/2013   8:50:51 PM
  • 28
    Good information, but, as others here have said - it would help if they listed the 4 times NOT to exercise as advertised in the headline, then told you to click the link for times when it is GOOD to exercise. - 9/30/2013   8:37:07 PM
  • 27
    Confusing to have an article billed on the opening page as "4 times you shouldn't exercise" headed with times TO exercise--different title altogether. The content is typical for the pseudo-information that comes from Woman's Day and other non-expert sites. I wish I knew before I opened a story or whatever where it came from...I wouldn't open this stuff. - 9/30/2013   8:15:44 PM
    High heat index (above 90) = no . (from Womens day article) THat means no exercise 5-6 months a year for me. my heat index is above 90 at 6am in the summer, and most of the year. Obviously written for those acclimatized to mid-west or northern US. If you are in the south or a tropical area you need to adjust the number, and what hydration levels. - 9/30/2013   7:52:47 PM
  • 25
    I prefer training in late afternoon and after work. But I will enjoy morning runs and mid-day hicking. Actually, I love to exercise: period! - 9/30/2013   7:24:20 PM
    We shouldn't have to go to another link. They should put it up there for us. - 9/30/2013   3:51:06 PM
    Great Advise. I was walking after dinner. Now I know to walk before. - 9/30/2013   3:40:25 PM
    Found this article quite confusing and misleading. I will stick to working out when I feel like it, which is in the mornings and afternoons when I walk to get my kids from school. listen to my body and rest when I need to, and exercise lightly when i am feeling under the weather along with staying plenty hydrated. - 9/30/2013   3:36:26 PM
    For me I think there is always an exception to the rule. I work swing shift and even though it is ten at night I go straight to the gym. I am not a morning person. So do what works for you consistently and results will happen - 9/30/2013   2:25:12 PM
  • 20
    This article is very confusing - 4 times you shouldn't exercise and it lists 3? 6 times you should exercise? What? I wish this site would have the whole article and not make us go to another one to get the rest of an article. If they can't do that, they shouldn't bother putting it in at all! - 9/30/2013   2:14:13 PM
  • 19
    You don't have to go to the gym to exercise when you have a cold. You can go for a walk or a run or do a DVD at home. - 9/30/2013   12:28:20 PM
  • 18
    The real four don'ts are: not when you're really sick, not when it's really hot, not when you're injured, and not after a heavy meal. Hmmm, nothing new here, moving on. - 9/30/2013   12:24:59 PM
    Did follow link to Women's Day. Kept getting pop up ads while reading. Didn't finish the article. - 9/30/2013   11:25:02 AM
    Also found it confusing. - 9/30/2013   11:23:16 AM
  • 15
    I agree. For the past few weeks, my Aunt and I have been walking almost 2 miles 3 days a week.
    We enjoy it because we go before it gets too hot and then we have time to go home and do whatever else we need to do. - 9/30/2013   10:08:35 AM
  • 14
    Click on the link to get the rest of the article. - 9/30/2013   9:06:47 AM
    I was a little confused too. But, if you click the link for "more workout tips from Woman's Day" it will make sense. You will get the full article that includes several times you SHOULD workout and 4 times you SHOULD NOT workout. - 9/30/2013   8:59:08 AM
  • 12
    This is only part of the information. These are just three (of the six) times you should work out, the four times you shouldn't are on the article at Women's Day (follow the link). But I agree, as it is, this article makes very little sense. - 9/30/2013   8:54:52 AM
  • 11
    I'm glad others are confused. I thought it might just be me. LOL! - 9/30/2013   8:39:00 AM
    I have a head cold and really do not feel like exercising :( - 9/30/2013   8:17:35 AM
  • 9
    :/ Not the best written article in the world. Disappointed. - 9/30/2013   8:12:43 AM
  • 8
    Very misleading article and really was no help at all.... - 9/30/2013   7:51:14 AM
  • 7
    It is indeed so confusing I didn't even claim my SparkPoints for reading it... : ( - 9/30/2013   7:06:03 AM
  • 6
    This article seems really contradictory: The 1st point (of 3 not 4) says you should work out in the late afternoon/early evening because that's the best. Then the 2nd point you should work out in the morning, because ppl who work out in the evening don't stick with it. Then point 3 says you should work out sick, even though it won't improve your symptoms--and you should take it easy because working out too hard will make you worse. Then after 3 points tell you when you should work out, there is no 4th point, and none of the points say when you should not work out. Spark's articles are usually more complete and helpful than this one. - 9/30/2013   3:13:31 AM
  • 5
    So....WHEN exactly shouldn't we work out? It'd be nice if someone vetted the articles before posting them. - 9/30/2013   1:50:33 AM
  • 4
    No I found the title quite confusing from the article also - 9/30/2013   1:32:38 AM
  • 3
    Maybe it's opposite day or something. Title is very misleading - 9/30/2013   12:46:04 AM
  • 2
    You need to click the link underneath to get the rest. I found that very confusing. - 9/30/2013   12:32:05 AM
  • CAMILLE210
    I'm confused - this article caught my eye with the headliner: 4 Times You Shouldn't Exercise. Yet, it listed three times you should exercise and was vague about the absolute times you should not. Perhaps it is just me. Did others read this differently? - 9/30/2013   12:14:11 AM

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