A Healthy Life Is All in the Timing

Here's how to time your activities to take advantage of your natural body rhythms.

By Reader's Digest Editors
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    The Best Time to Workout

    Picking the best time to exercise depends wholly on the way that you react to it. A general guideline is to exercise at the time that works for you. However, some research shows that morning exercisers develop fewer excuses for skipping their workout. Although morning exercise suits many people, for athletes looking for that extra bit of endurance -- or for those who are asthmatic or easily exhausted -- working out between 4pm and 5pm may be best. One study of 4,800 people by the American College of Chest Physicians found that lung function peaks (at about 20% higher) during this period, with midday exercise returning the lowest lung function.

    The Best Time to Weigh Yourself

    The best time to weigh yourself is in the morning, ideally before breakfast, sans clothing. While you don’t have to weigh-in every day, experts think doing so could help you catch extra pounds before they pile up.

    The Best Time to Have Lunch

    Eat your lunch closer to 2 P.M. to take a break during the time when your body naturally relaxes, unless you have the time and a place to take a nap. In that case, eat a light lunch earlier to not disturb your sleep. Discover other ways to sync your circadian rhythm and your brain.

    The Best Time to Take a Nap

    Don’t take a nap within three hours of your bedtime, or you’ll rob yourself of nighttime sleep. The best time to nap is between 1 and 3 P.M., (although we know that’s not realistic for many people).

    The Best Time to Stop Eating

    "Unless you are an insulin-dependent diabetic, it's better not to eat two to three hours before bed," says accredited dietitian Kate Di Prima. "If you are tempted, give your body an 'automatic' brain signal that eating is over for the night. This might include washing the dishes, putting away all the leftovers, and flossing and cleaning your teeth thoroughly. If you've done this, you're less likely to be tempted to put anything but herbal tea past your lips late at night." Find out more about losing weight around the clock.

    The Best Time to Stop Working

    Put your work away at least one hour before bed (preferably two hours or more). This will give your mind a chance to unwind so you can go to sleep feeling calm, not hyped up or anxious about tomorrow's deadlines.

    The Best Time to Quit Smoking

    Women may have worse withdrawal symptoms after ovulation, halfway into their cycle. Plan to quit smoking during the first two weeks. Read about other ways to make the most of your cycle.

    The Best Time to Practice Yoga

    Runnersworld.com suggests you, "tailor your yoga practice to your training cycle." The type of yoga you do combined with other types of workouts will determine the best time to do it. When you run or work out vigorously you should do restorative yoga afterward to lengthen muscles. If you do Ashtanga or more strength building forms of yoga the practice should be done without any cardio before.

    Sources: Webmd.com, runnersworld.com, redbookmag.com, today.msnbc.msn.com, mercola.com

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