If you’re doing light to moderate activities, the time of day doesn’t matter.
You might have heard this advice before: get your exercise but whatever you do, don’t go swimming immediately after you eat because you might get a huge knot in your stomach and sink to the bottom of the pool. (Death by pastrami sandwich).
And also, make sure you’re active but don’t do those aerobics too late in the evening. If you exercise well into the witching hours, you’ll be up all night and miss getting your required beauty sleep.
Are these bits of insight true, or are they so-called wives tales?
Here’s the scoop. Waiting to swim until you’ve fully digested your lunch could be good advice.
There’s no harm in relaxing a bit longer, and waiting til the coast is clear.
But research now says that it doesn’t matter if you go for a run at 5 AM, or if you wait until 11:30 at night to do get it all in. Your body will benefit from exercise at any time, and you won’t have trouble sleeping as long as you don’t pull out all the stops and engage in a very vigorous workout, very late.
Scientists at the Institute of Human Movement Sciences and Sport at ETH Zurich made the findings.
“People can do exercise in the evening without hesitation,” says Jan Stutz, lead author of the study.
“The data shows that moderate exercise in the evening is no problem at all. However, vigorous training or competitions should be scheduled earlier in the day, if possible.”
Moderate exercise did not cause sleep problems in any of the studies examined, not even when the training session ended just 30 minutes before bedtime. Strenuous exercise can get your heart pumping so much, however, that your body doesn’t have enough time to recover if you engage in it late at night, it was found. Your heart rate in this case, would stay elevated and be beating more than 20 beats per minute faster than your normal resting heart rate. And this would make it difficult to get to sleep.
Remember though, that every person is different. Try changing up your workout times and see what works best for you.