As a mum, we pretty much go for a run when we can right?! And the timing is more to do with how it fits in with our kids and family rather than what we prefer to do.
If you prefer to exercise in the early morning or late evening then good news! A new study appears to conclude that those are the best times to exercise. But, this study was conducted on mice so does that translate to people, and women for that matter?
You may have started to hear the phrase “women are not small men”. A lot of exercise research is done on men because, well, women and their hormones and periods are too complicated!
We can all accept that running is good for you. It has a variety of physical and mental health benefits. These benefits will be different at different times of the day. Which will also depend on the type of running workout you are doing. This is to do with our body’s natural circadian rhythm and cell turn over (which generally happens every 24 hours).
Scientists wanted to know more about how exercise affected this. They conducted a range of experiments on mice that they made exercise either in the early morning or late evening. They found that different tissues responded to exercise differently depending on the time of exercise. Scientists were then able to produce a comprehensive map of these responses. More research is needed as obviously there are genetic differences between mice and us!
Cortisol (stress hormone) is also a factor to consider here. When you exercise you “stress” your body and break down muscle. That muscle then repairs, hopefully stronger! But when you stress your body, you also produce cortisol and too much of it can be a bad thing. Emotional and work stress will also produce cortisol which will accumulate on top of any running that you do.
Through the EVEolution™ course I also learned that cortisol levels are normally at their highest in the morning and drop off during the day. This tends to suggest that it is better to do higher stress producing exercise, like running, early in the day rather than at night. You might leave the evenings for something like stretching, yoga, pilates or lighter strength work. This is so you don’t inadvertently raise cortisol levels again and have difficulty sleeping. So, I suggest it is not only the time of day that will give you different benefits in your exercise, but also the type of exercise you do.
So that’s good news for you mamas who like to run early in the morning, or if that is the only time you can get out. But if the evenings are your exercise time then don’t use this as a reason not to run! The benefits of running will still outweigh the cortisol you will produce! But be aware that going for an intense run in the evening may not be the best thing for your body. If you have had a stressful day, it may not actually calm you down. Instead think about:
dropping the intensity down;
shortening the duration of the run; and
running for fun somewhere new and not focusing on your watch or pace.
Also, a calming bedtime ritual will be important to help relax you and prepare your body to sleep and rest.
While you will need to do what works best for you and your lifestyle, I hope this has given you an understanding of the benefits of running in the morning. If you do prefer to run in the evening then you now have some tips for helping to combat any stress related effects you may get from that.
If you are interested in learning more about EVEolution™ and your body, then simply click here. If you would like to chat more about your running please contact me for a FREE no obligation call.