Find Your Power Hour

The best time for exercise is up to you.


Early birds, night owls, lunch-break walkers and afternoon joggers: Which group has found the best time to work out? The short answer: all of them.

“Some experts swear by morning workouts. Others claim nighttime workouts are the best,” says Lisa Seneker, Group Fitness Supervisor and Certified Personal Trainer with Wellness Center, Navicent Health. “Honestly, the best time is whenever a person can schedule a workout.”

The Best Time for Your Best Results

You’ll exercise more if you enjoy your workouts. Match your workout time with the part of the day that makes your ideal workout possible.

Follow this guide:

  • If you want a quiet, distraction-free workout, aim to exercise before dawn.
  • If working out in groups motivates you, 5 p.m., when most people leave work, is go-time.
  • If your goal is to meet basic exercise baselines, noon may be the best time to start. Go for a brisk walk during your lunch break to get a minimum of 10 minutes aerobic workout.
  • Working out at night can wind you up, but if evening hours are best for you, try to get a workout in before 9 p.m. Try yoga or stretching to wind down before bed.

If you’re new to exercising, your power hour is whenever you never schedule anything else. Seneker recommends trying early mornings. You may have to try a few different times until you find the right fit. Don’t give up.

Your primary care physician can help you decide how physically active you should be and keep you well on your journey toward fitness.

Best Foods to Fuel Your Workouts

Carbohydrates, healthy fats and protein are all critical building blocks for a healthy body. Don’t dismiss any food group as being completely off limits. Eat enough to help you feel focused and energetic. And give your body enough time to digest before you get moving.

When it comes to eating well before and after your workout, focus on eating wholesome foods that contain a variety of these important nutrients:

  • Carbohydrates: Embraced during the 1980s and then given a bad reputation in the decades that followed, carbohydrates are critical when it comes to creating energy. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, eating carbohydrates is a powerful way to support muscles when you exercise. Resist the urge to load up on sugary stuff. Instead, choose to get your carbohydrates from whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Fats: If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you’ve probably come to see fat as the enemy. But according to the Center for Young Women’s Health, not getting enough fat in your diet may have a negative impact on your athletic ability. Choose healthy fats from foods like avocados, salmon and walnuts.
  • Protein: Focus on steadily consuming high-protein items throughout the day to keep your energy level up. Greek yogurt, lean meats or handfuls of nuts here and there may pack the energetic punch you need to feel strong when you work out.

The Wellness Center, Navicent Health is here to meet your nutrition and fitness needs. Call 478.477.2300 for more information.

Atrium Health Navicent