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Healthy Living

At what time of day are our bodies ready to exercise?

Because they sit at desks all day, many office workers have to exercise in the early morning or late evening. But when is it best to work out? The answer: listen to your body’s internal clock.

Our internal circadian biological clock regulates our body’s functions, including our readiness to exercise. In principle, you can exercise early in the morning, but because not all body systems are up and running at full capacity yet, there are better times of day. Mornings are generally ideal for endurance sports such as running, aerobics and spinning, provided you haven’t eaten too much for breakfast. You shouldn’t exercise on an empty stomach either, however. Around noon, the body needs at least two hours of rest to digest food. The hours between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. are a good time to work out, because our body systems are working at full capacity. Dr. Ingo Froböse says that’s when physical exercise feels easier and we can work out more intensely. Afternoons are best for weight training, as well as high intensity and technically skilled endurance sports such as tennis and martial arts. Early evening is also a good time to exercise, until around 8 p.m., when our performance capacity slowly drops.