Which is better, running in the morning or afternoon?
Guest post provided by Cassandra Lynne. See below for more information about this author.
Good news for runners who are still in bed while the early bird joggers are finishing up mile five.
New research shows that running in the afternoon rather than the morning might be healthier for you.
Afternoon exercise might better regulate your internal clock, helping you to fall asleep faster at night and wake up easier in the morning.
It’s important to take a look at the myths and facts involved.
The really good news: any running is better than no running.
The argument for morning running
Many runners arise in the dark hours of the morning to lace up their shoes, pull on headlamps and reflector shorts to hit the trails before anyone else.
Some do this because morning is the quietest and best time to steal a half hour to run, and many claim this calm is an important stress reliever.
Others run in the morning because they believe an early start will boost their metabolism, as a body depleted of carbohydrates will burn fat stores instead.
So why would scientists suggest that running in the afternoon might be better?
What the data says
Our bodies work on circadian rhythms that help us orient daytime from nighttime, which affects the way we distribute protein.
This rhythm can be manipulated. For example, turning on lights in the evening might keep you awake, just as turning on the lights in the middle of the night when you go to the restroom can prematurely wake you up for the day.
Exercise, or the lack thereof, either contributes to or confuses our body’s internal clock. Scientists found that the circadian rhythms of mice worked more effectively if they exercised in the afternoon.
Keep in mind: though this research might make afternoon runners feel a bit less lazy, the scientists concluded that, in general, any and all exercise helps your circadian rhythm.
If you’re a morning runner, stick to your established routine. Any running is better than none and you know your body better than anyone else, including scientists.
Potential benefits of afternoon running
As researchers learn more about how our bodies work, we’re able to exercise smarter and more efficiently.
Sometimes that means we combine running with walking. We use knee braces, engage in the proper warm-up and cool down exercises, and incorporate new breathing techniques.
We even utilize specially designed footwear, such as Nike, New Balance or Adidas running shoes, to make exercise better.
We should be open-minded when it comes to learning about how our bodies exercise.
As mentioned, the primary potential benefit of afternoon running is that it helps better orient our circadian rhythm.
A displaced circadian rhythm has also been shown to increase chances of depression, diabetes and cancer.
The potential benefits of afternoon running might very well make us healthier by improving our circadian rhythms. This research, however, is new.
Listen to your body. Run when you feel like running, be it morning, noon or night.
Protect yourself with proper running gear, including comfortable footwear and reflective clothing so you can be seen outside in the early morning, at dusk or at night. Happy trails!
About the Author:
Cassandra Lynne is the admin of Good Morning Bloggers, which helps connect bloggers with writers. She enjoys keeping her running routine interesting by running with her dog, completing 5ks for a good cause and trail running. Follow her on Twitter @goodmorningblog.