Rise and Shine? Not all are morning persons, exercise accordingly

I never quite get Herman Melville’s short story, “Bartleby, the Scrivener.” But the vivid descriptions of the other three clerks — Turkey, Nippers and Ginger Nut, stuck. The two copyists, Turkey and Nippers were juxtaposed as night and day.

Turkey was a short, pursy Englishman… In the morning, one might say his face was of a fine florid hue, but after twelve o’clock, meridian — his dinner hour — it blazed like a grate full of Christmas coals; and continued blazing, but as it were, with a gradual wane — till 6 o’clock, p.m.

You see, Turkey is a morning person. He works better before 12 o’clock, but grows clumsy after.

In contrast, Nippers is an afternoon person.

Nippers… was a whiskered, sallow, and upon the whole, rather practical-looking young man of about five and twenty. I always deemed him the victim of two evil powers — ambition and indigestion… It was fortunate for me that, owning to its peculiar cause — indigestion — the irritability and consequent nervousness of Nippers were mainly observable in the morning, while in the afternoon he was comparatively mild.

Morning person? Night person? (image credit: Nick Galifianakis cartoon / courtesy of Nick Galifianakis)

Yes, some of us are morning persons, “early birds,” and some of us are not, “night owls.” This is called chronotype. 

While researches have found that morning people are often more successful than evening people because they tend to be proactive, supporting the oft-quoted saying that “early birds get the worms,” it is possible that the best time to exercise is late afternoon not morning.

Common knowledge dictates that we should avoid exercising after dusk, because it will increase metabolism and disrupt sleep. However, if you are a night chronotype, it is actually better for you to work out at night.

The National Strength and Conditioning Association finds that college age men who exercised after 6 p.m. displayed a 3.2% increase in lean mass compared with 0.6% with those exercising at 10 a.m. Additionally, immediately after waking up you are most likely dehydrated, with your glucose and fluid levels below normal. Cardio first thing in the morning before breakfast may not be the best option for everyone.

Aren’t you glad you can work out both morning or late at night? The most important thing is to remember to be active and make workout a habit in your life.

In fact, I think I will do some yoga before I go to bed.

Cheers, S.H. (11:30 p.m.)


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