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Best time to exercise?

Ray Pelelas (Chicago Daily Herald) -- Many people start each day exercising. These are the morning people.

Whether they run, do aerobics or yoga, or lift weights, they say it wakes them up and prepares them for the day.

It'll certainly benefit you to get your blood flowing in the morning, but there seems to be a higher risk of injury for morning exercisers. Pulls and strains can occur more often at this time of the day.

So, before exercising, give the body a chance to "loosen up" for at least an hour after rising. If your routine emphasizes yoga or lower intensity stretching, consider a hot shower prior to exercise.

Also, there is some indication that many morning workouts are not as long or as intense as in the evening. Upcoming events of the day might be a distraction from your workout.

Morning people might find it too difficult to work out in the evening. This is especially true for people who are too tired from the work day and want to go home. Once they're on the couch with the TV on, they're home for the night.

Even if you're tired, exercising in the evening might provide a good outlet for the stresses of the day. After work or after dinner you might be better able to focus on your body and not on your boss or kids.

Ultimately, it's up to you to decide which time of the day is best for exercise. Try exercising at different times and decide when you perform the best.

Your schedule might not allow you to choose the best time for your workout. In that case, adapt. Getting some exercise each day at any time is better than none at all.

Ray Pelelas is a kinesiotherapist, personal trainer and certified massage therapist and owner of TEAM Fitness & Massage in Gurnee and Sports Medicine Associates in Chicago.

(c) 2001 Chicago Daily Herald

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