If you have ever wondered what the best time of day to get optimal results for physical and mental activities then read on because that is what I will be covering in this article.
What I have come to find out through research and experiment is that the mind and body performs better during specific time periods of the day depending on the type of activity you are doing.
This is very interesting because in some cases you could possibly perform 10-30% better in terms of strength, focus, endurance, body temperature, and pain tolerance.
The timing of athletic performance can make a big difference. A 10% worsening of performance is comparable to having a 0.09% alcohol level or sleeping only three hours.
So, what does that mean?
That means, if you have been looking for an advantage….you just found it!
High-Intensity Endurance & Aerobic Training
High-intensity activities, such as swimming 100-400 meters and cycling to exhaustion with at 95% of VO2max are better done in the late afternoon and evening because the human body temperature is closest to its daily highest resulting in a better performance for these activities and alike.
- Swimming Laps
- Distance Cycling
- Distance Running
- Cross Country Skiing
Aerobic endurance workouts are better tolerated and result in higher performance during the late afternoon and early evening hours because the cardiovascular and respiratory systems are more efficient then.
Athletic Shooting Sports & Technical Skill
Accuracy shooting improves with a slower heart rate; usually shots being taken between heartbeats accompanied with suppressed breathing techniques. Sharp shooters and archers prefer to compete early in the day because the heart rate is slower than later in the day.
Also, pain tolerance is greatest in the early morning, but physical discomfort like extreme cold or heat is tolerated better in the late morning.
- Target Shooting
- Sport Shooting
For athletes, competitors, and sport enthusiasts alike that are performing highly technical activities; long-term memory is utilized best and formed in the late afternoon or evening, so this would be the recommended time for a highly technical workout.
According to chronobiological research done by Charles Winget(1985), the best time to engage in a strength training workout is between 2:00 P.M. and 6:30 P.M. because of physical readiness of the nueromuscular system for strength related activities are manifested by the hand grip strength being at its best then.
Physical strength is perceived to be easier in the late afternoon and in the early evening hours based on physiological and psychological factors that were tested on individuals that worked out at the same time compared to others that didn’t.
Yoga & Stretching
The best time for stretching is about 1:30 P.M. because the precise control of fine movements is best in the afternoon. The body’s systems have had a chance to warm-up, and this may give a better quality of results than at random times when you are less systematically prepared.
- Active Stretching
- Passive Stretching
- Static Stretching
There are many other forms of stretching and they all have a purpose. Finding the right kind of stretching or combination of stretching is key to improving the body’s mobility for greater performance.
The main thing to understand is that flexibility increases mobility; which comes from stretching, and in most peoples life is a good thing to have.
Get In Where You Fit In!
Regularly working out at a specific time every day will make an athlete perform best at that time. Although, athletes that are either extreme morning or extreme evening dedicated; will have their best times of performance shifted from 2-5 hours earlier or later.
Our human natural daily cycle controls the hormones, heart rate, white cell count, blood pressure, body temperature, sleep & wake cycle, and all other aspects of our body’s functions.
This daily cycle effects our neuromuscalar coordination, reaction time, pain tolerance, grip strength, lung ventilation rate rise and fall in a 24-hour cycle. Proving that this daily cycle dictates our best times for working out.
So, you might be asking yourself…
What does all this mean?
That the human body likes structure and routine. Like going to bed at the same time nightly and waking around the same time, eating around the same times daily, and working out regularly around the same time.
Obviously, this doesn’t mean that you can’t schedule things differently on a daily basis and achieve great results, but studies have shown that the best results for your efforts fall within particular times based on the human body’s circadian cycle.
There are 90 minute cycles within the physiology of the human body’s circadian cycle that affect hunger, REM (rapid eye movement) sleep—- during this sleep phase a majority of remembered dreams happen.
REM sleep occurs every 90-110 minutes, as well with hunger pangs occurring with the similar time frame. So, perhaps these cycles of time have a common factor with why the optimal time for a workout is about 90 minutes.
Human life consists of many cycles. Biologically, “we are essentially rhythmic creatures,” says psychologist Edward F. Kelly. He goes on to say, “everything from the cycle of our brain waves to the pumping of our heart, our digestive cycle, sleep cycle—- all work in rhythms. We are a mass of cycles piled one on top of another, so we are clearly organized both to generate and respond to rhythmic phenomena.”
Word-to-the-wise, this is scientific research that has been done many years ago and shouldn’t stop or inhibit you from working out when you’re able. This is simply the expression of how our body’s may be capable of producing more optimal results in terms of structure of a training cycle and other variables.
Reference: Science of Sports Training by Thomas Kurz
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.-Psalm 28:7