In my Weight Watchers meeting this week, the topic was “food and fitness myths.” There are always many myths about diet and weight loss floating around -we even did a post on some of them, you can read it here.
What caught my attention in the meeting, though, was the discussion around when it is best to exercise. The “myth” presented by our leader was that exercising in the morning burns more fat. The truth is that if your choice of exercise is a fat burning choice (running, for example), you’ll burn that fat no matter when you do that exercise.
However, morning exercise is the best choice for weight loss, and here’s why. When you exercise in the morning, you “rev up” your metabolism such that it works at a higher intensity all day. Your body will burn calories at a higher rate for that whole day because you worked out in the morning. Now, if you can’t exercise in the morning should you not exercise at all? Of course not! (Although many of us will say to ourselves, “well if I didn’t exercise when I was supposed to then I missed my chance” – as we sit on the sofa and watch TV!) Exercise whenever and however it works for your lifestyle. As one member said in the meeting, if you put too many rules around when and how to exercise, then you won’t do it.
Interestingly, the fact also came up that if you exercise in the morning for an hour and then sit at a desk all day (say, a 9 hour work day), you are still considered “sedentary”! This bummed many of us out, to say the least. So, the Weight Watchers goal for someone who sits at a desk all day is to get up and walk for 5 minutes every hour. I’m going to do that this week and see how I feel!
How about you? When and how do you fit exercise into your day?