Making Your Body Feel Young and Healthy

You’re always searching for that extra edge; perhaps it’s trying a new move or a sweatier program, or maybe it’s finding the most wicked of abs classes or the cushiest running shoe. Every advantage helps you work out smarter and make your bodies stronger despite your age.

The time of day you work out is critical; it can help you avoid injuries, produce a peak performance, and enjoy, not dread, your workout. Tweak your schedule and match your workout to your body’s physiological patterns, and make the most of your body clock.

In the morning, aside from the heck-raising alarm clock, there are a few things you’ve got going on when you wake up. For one, your core temperature starts to rise. But because you’ve been sleeping, your muscles are stiffer than a Friday-night martini, and your heart rate has slowed down to about 60 to 80 beats per minute.

To top it off, your joints are 20 percent less flexible than they are at the end of the day because you’ve been lying still at night. Let your muscles catch up because morning tightness makes you even more prone to injuries when you’re exercising. Take 10 minutes of easy movement first.

Morning is actually the best time for aerobic endurance activities because your lower heart rate allows you to go longer, farther, and harder. The bonus is that your brain naturally underestimates time when your core temperature is cooler because it doesn’t process information as quickly.

By midday, your body temperature has risen, meaning that your circulation has improved to better deliver oxygen to your brain and muscles. The higher oxygen level in your blood improves your reaction time, muscle strength, and hand-eye coordination.

Although it hasn’t officially been proven, experts speculate that it’s because of your sleep cycle. You’re groggiest around 2 a.m., and the cycle probably repeats itself every 12 hours, starting again at around 2 p.m. Exercising now will also improve your late-day performance at work because the increased blood flow to your brain makes you mentally sharper.

A 30-minute strength circuit with minimal rest between sets will get your blood gushing at maximum levels, which helps prevent post-lunch energy drops. Take advantage of your improved coordination with sports as well.

Later during the day, at around late afternoon or early evening, your core temperature should have risen faster than ever. It’s as much as 3degrees higher than it was in the morning, so your flexibility, muscle strength, and reaction time are peaking.

Your higher body temp corresponds with increased tolerance for pain. Now’s the time to push your limits. For best results, don’t exercise too late because this can rearrange all your biological rhythms and affect the quality of your sleep.

Your body releases human growth hormones when you snooze and this is responsible for repairing and maintaining muscle. Be explosive and bring your power levels at their highest.

It’s time to go hard and sweaty. Take advantage of your body temperature by doing 15 minutes of static stretches to loosen up and relax after.