Do I Have to Become a Morning Person to Fit in Exercise?
You don’t need to upend your morning routine to do a healthy amount of activity
Laura Vanderkam, the time management expert who wrote Off the Clock and Juliet’s School of Possibilities, is here to answer your scheduling questions. Check back every week for more advice, and send your own productivity problems to email@example.com. (Your name will not be used.)
Dear Laura: I keep reading the advice that I should “carve out” time in my busy schedule to exercise. I know that mornings would work best, and it’s technically possible — I don’t have kids I need to get to school or anything — but my routine feels set. Changing it up to add an hour of exercise feels so daunting. And honestly, I’m just not a morning person. Any advice?
Mornings truly are a great time for getting stuff done. The early hours tend to be time we can have for ourselves before the rest of the world makes its demands, both at work and at home. Most people — not all, but most — have more energy, discipline, and focus in the mornings. We’re better able to tackle those important-but-not-urgent tasks that life has a way of crowding out.
If that important task is exercise, there’s this added bonus: You only need to shower once. This may be a reason why one survey found morning exercisers wound up doing more workouts over the year than evening exercisers.
Here’s the thing about humans, though: Most of us don’t stick with things we don’t want to do. If you like your mornings as they are, you probably won’t keep up with a morning workout schedule. You might make it through a few days on the strength of a New Year’s resolution, but one setback (missed alarm, stomach flu, work trip), and you’ll revert to your old routine.
That doesn’t mean you won’t exercise at all. I’m here to tell you that even if you’re never going to be the person basking in the glow of a runner’s high at an 8 a.m. meeting, it’s quite possible to be physically active. You just need to question a few assumptions.
First, there’s really nothing inherently nobler about morning exercise. If your time outside work is your own, evenings are a great solution. While some worry that evening exercise will…