Stuff that matters

Many of us have the habit of getting through our fitness routine in the morning when we’re still fresh and full of energy.

While early workouts are perfectly good for your health, a new study has from the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands has found that exercising in the afternoon or evening might be more useful in cutting your body’s insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance is when cells in the muscles, fat and liver find it more difficult to take up glucose from the blood, leaving the pancreas to work harder to produce insulin.

Becoming resistant to insulin can eventually lead to pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes..

Here’s when you should exercise to control blood sugar.

What is the best time to exercise in the evening?
The best time for evening exercise is between 2pm and 6pm, when your body temperature is at its highest.

This might mean you work out during the time when your body is most ready, making it the most effective time of day to workout.

Oxygen uptake also tends to be faster in the evening, which means you’re using your resources more slowly and effectively than in the morning.

Your reaction time is also at its quickest in the afternoon and evening, which makes it a suitable time for intense exercise routines.

Your blood pressure and heart rate are at its lowest in the late afternoon, which helps reduce your chance of injury.

Will working out later affect my sleep?
High intensity training closer to bedtime will raise your cortisol levels (stress hormone) and affect the quality of your sleep.

So if you want to exercise in the evening consider the intensity of the routine. Pick something calm and relaxing like yoga or Pilates or go for something with low intensity.

While these are more than enough to benefit your health, it’s also important to try and find some time for something that’s moderate intensity.

Try aiming for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week, spread over at least four to five days.

What exercises are best for evening?
It can be easy for us to run low on energy or just feel a bit lazy to exercise in the evening.

So it’s important that you find an activity that you’ll love doing. It’s also good to start exercising with someone else who can keep you accountable.

  • Warm-up – Make sure not to skip your warm-up. Do some stretches and jogging on the spot before starting your exercise routine. Finish off with static stretches at the end of your routine
  • Swimming – This is a great exercise to do in the evening, because it can help you sleep. Swimming helps boost your mood and manage stress levels, making it a perfect way to unwind at the end of your work day. There have also been studies proving that it can help with insomnia and improve overall quality of life
  • Running – Running can help you get more intense exercise in. But you need to consider visibility and wear clothes that make you highly visible in the dark. Another thing to consider is your warmth and investing in clothes that move moisture away from your skin> Ensure you run in footwear that prevents you from slipping. And if conditions or clothing are not suitable, stay home!