Monday, February 08, 2010

Working out in the morning vs. evening

Photo courtesy of Sami Taipale
It seems that there are morning people and non-morning people. I have always considered myself a non-morning person. I always thoroughly resisted morning workouts but in the past year or so I took on a 7am Saturdays private aikido/judo class and I changed my yoga schedule from some evenings to most mornings at 6am. Some mornings I'm still resistant to working out (especially judo and especially in cold weather) but for the most part, the change seems to have improved my practices.
Yoga is this strange mind-body unity thing and a lot of times it seems like my mind and body are on different schedules. In the mornings (after a few minutes of waking) my mind is clear and sharp but my body is cold and stiff. In the evenings my body is often warmer and looser but my mind is fatigued from the day.
I've done aikido and judo for so long now that I almost always slip instantly into that here-and-now mode that the Japanese call mushin whenever I step onto the mat, regardless of the time of day. So the mental aspect doesn't seem to manifest itself in the martial domain, but I do notice in yoga that mental and physical readiness is often opposite biorhythms. Maybe that's part of what makes yoga such a good morning thing for me - it seems to bring my sense of mental and physical wellbeing back toward the same rhythm.
How about you? What time of day do you like to work out? What difference does timing make in your routine?
Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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