Wellness Wednesday: good timing

Yesterday afternoon I went for a run. Or tried to. I only got about two kilometres along my usual course before I realised the afternoon running thing just wasn’t working and turned back. Take two this morning – and I’d knocked out 10 k before 8.15am. Who knows why I even bothered trying to exercise yesterday afternoon as I’m well aware that I’m one of those annoying people who can not only get up before the sun rises, but actually dress themselves and run out the door… and keep running for a considerable time (about an hour or so).

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In case you don’t know, this is what “early morning” looks like.

Now, despite what you may be thinking, this post is not about how great it is to be a morning person and how much more we get done than night owls. Rather, it’s about recognising your own rhythms and tweaking time so it works for you. Although my eyes generally pop open at about 6.30am without prompting from an alarm clock (yes, even in midwinter when the sun doesn’t rise before 7am. Surely that’s an employable skill?), I struggle to do much once the sun sets. I’m not necessarily sleepy, but most of my motivation to get work done vanishes once dusk sets in and – now that I’m back in the burbs with my mum for a bit after moving out of my inner-city apartment recently – I’m extremely easily distracted by whatever is on TV. It’s embarrassing to admit, but unless I have a really pressing deadline, reruns of Poirot and Miss Marple will always win over serious slog at my laptop. So for me, it makes sense to try to get any freelance tasks requiring brainpower done earlier in the day, leaving things like monotonous cleaning, mending clothes, polishing shoes, resizing and uploading blog photos and any other mindless task for later (especially if I know there’s something I want to watch on TV!).

Back to the running though – some research suggests you should do different types of exercise at different times of the day. Apparently cardio before breakfast (or at least early in the morning) helps you lose weight, while strength training is best done in the afternoon or evening as the body puts on muscle better later in the day.

For me, it’s not about losing weight: early morning just happens to be when I am most inclined to exercise and running just happens to be the only exercise I am coordinated enough to attempt. But if you’re one of those people who thinks exercise is not for them, maybe it’s just a matter of timing: try shifting your daily routine around a bit and see if it makes a difference – both in your motivation and your performance. Yesterday afternoon I really did want to run, but my legs just were not moving as smoothly as they do first thing in the morning, which is when they are accustomed to busting moves. I could have dragged myself around the block to clock up the 10 k but I admitted to my “lark” personality and postponed my run until this morning. There’s a lot about this kind of thing online, so if you’re interested in finding out more about maximising your time for fitness, Google “what time should I exercise”. And if, like me, a lot of your work is freelance, maybe this article will be helpful in planning the most productive use of your time. Now, if I can just work out the best time of day to Find Motivation To Switch Off Agatha Christie Reruns…

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