Exercise plays key role in collegiate wellness

Let’s face it, college can be overwhelming. Whether you are a freshman or a graduate student, you are constantly meeting new people, learning new things and coming across different opportunities to get involved. We often neglect what our body needs—exercise.

While it may be hard to find time for a quick workout between classes, club meetings and other extracurricular activities, your body will thank you in the long run.

There are many myths and misconceptions about whether it is better to work out early in the morning or later at night. While answers to these questions are sometimes unclear, getting the most of a workout is the ideal goal. Most of these are false and it depends on an individual’s energy level and habits whether they get the most out of an exercise earlier or later. Typically, the higher heart rate you have, the more you will get out of exercise.

At Iowa State, both Lied and State gyms offer fitness classes throughout the day to accommodate any schedule. Whether you want to get your day started with Zumba, end the day with a relaxing yoga class, or anything in between, there is always a time to get a workout in. So grab some friends and get your booty moving.

Early morning exercise “jump starts” your metabolism and keeps it elevated throughout the day. Exercising early in the day opens up the rest of your day for other plans and gives you more energy the rest of the day. If you are not a morning person, it can be hard to stay motivated to get up early and workout, but if you stick with it, exercise is easier to keep as a habit.

If you are not a regular exerciser, early morning workouts put more strain on the heart, making heart rates higher and more efficient. Regular exercisers often experience lower heart rates in the morning, so later workouts are more beneficial. 

If you can find time in the afternoon, this is the best time to exercise. In the afternoon, the body has a faster reaction time, better muscle strength and ideal cardio efficiency. Going to the gym during breaks between classes can be the best way to utilize this free time.

If you choose to work out later in the evening, you can spend more time exercising since you won’t have thoughts of work or class lingering on your mind.  After a long day, muscles are more flexible and stronger. Your heart and lungs are also more efficient. The only down side about waiting to do a workout later at night is that social plans or the couch could be calling your name and making the gym seem less desirable.

 Approaching work outs takes planning, motivation, and knowledge of fitness. It all comes down to personal preference and your daily schedule. Whether you have free time in the morning or at night, the most important thing is that you are getting out there and working out.

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