Finding time to exercise can be difficult, so you want to make sure that the time you spend huffing and puffing on a treadmill is worth it. Since muscle strength, muscle flexibility, hand-eye coordination and lung function tend to peak in the afternoon, the best time to exercise is between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. And within that range, 5 p.m. is the ideal time, the Wall Street Journal reports of a study from Albany Medical College in New York. In addition, the risk of injury is lowest from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. And it’s not just exercise for which there is an ideal time of day. Our bodies work with the ebb and flow of our circadian rhythms of waking and sleeping. When we pay attention to that–instead of fighting it–we get a lot more done, more effectively and more efficiently. We have more energy. We’re more alert. Basically, there is a peak body time for almost everything. Just going with the flow of your natural body clock can also reap big health benefits. When circadian rhythms are interrupted, it can potentially lead to type 2 diabetes, depression, dementia and obesity. But when your body clock is fully synced with your daily activities, it gives you an edge. Thanks to the Wall Street Journal, here’s a handy list of what’s best to do when:
6am to noon
When it comes to cognitive work, most adults perform best in the late morning. Just before you wake up, your body temperature starts to rise, and it continues rising until midday. That gives a boost to working memory, alertness and concentration. Taking a warm morning shower can jump-start the process. Tip: If you want your boss to read your email messages, send them at 6am. E-mails sent early in the day are more likely to be read than those sent later.
Noon to 4pm
After eating a meal, alertness starts to wane. Our ability to focus and concentrate begins a perceptible slide in the early afternoon. We become more easily distracted. We also become sleepy. If it’s possible for you to nap, do so at 2pm.
3 to 6pm
This is the best time to exercise. Your muscles are more flexible and you are actually stronger, which lowers the risk of injury.
You are tired and spent from the day, but guess what? For most adults, fatigue actually boosts creativity, especially for open-ended thinking. When you’re tired, your brain wanders. That allows you to come up with ideas you might not have in a more awake state. This is also reflected on social media where late-night tweets and Facebook posts tend to be more riddled with emotion.