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When is the best time to exercise?

When is the best time to exercise?

When is the best time to exercise?


For thousands of years, Chinese medicine has sought to understand a person’s health as part of their connection to the cycles of nature.

We are always connected to nature – through air, food, water and the energy from sleeping.

And nature is always moving through cycles – day-night cycles, seasonal cycles and life cycles of plants and animals.

These cycles’ movements are the universe’s animating power, creating and nourishing your individual life as well.

When you adjust your life’s movements to be in harmony with these greater movements, then the maximum amount of support is available to you. You are “plugged in” to what nature is doing at that time, and able to receive everything that’s available in that phase of the cycle.


You and the Earth’s daily cycle

Because we’re talking about exercise this month, let’s look at how you can optimise your exercise routine to harness this power.


Let’s think of what’s happening at 2am…

The sky is dark, most animals are sleeping, even some plants have closed up their flowers and leaves.

During this time, the Earth is quiet and your mind (or Heart) is so quiet and so still that you’re at a different level of awareness altogether, not even thinking about the outside world.

When the sun comes up and the birds start singing, your Heart starts to move a little. You start to stir and stretch, gradually opening your eyes to let in the light, becoming aware of who you are and where you are.

Having been quiet and still overnight, you have gained much energy. You are feeling refreshed.


Now let’s fast-forward to the middle of the day…

It’s midday. You’re working or looking after kids or doing the grocery shopping. You definitely need to be aware of your surroundings!

Now all the action is on the outside, your five senses are switched on, and your Heart needs to assess the outside world and move your body accordingly…


Making the connection

So let’s get back to the sunrise now…

From the night-time of quietness, stillness and replenishing energy – to the day-time of busy-ness, being switched on and using energy to move around.


The morning is about making this transition

When you’ve been lying still all night, what does your body want to do when you start to wake?

If you’re like most people, you would love to stretch.

When you stretch your limbs and body outwards, you are calling energy out into your limbs, getting them ready to be in the “movement phase” of the day-night cycle. You may also yawn, switching on a deep-down desire for more air, to start the movement phase of the day.


The best time to exercise

You can probably now guess the best time to exercise – that’s right, the morning.

When the sun starts creating movement on the Earth in the morning, and the Heart creates movement in the body by stretching, also creating desire for air, then you are in harmony with Nature’s energy in that moment.

Please see the other articles in March about moving from joy and exercising with the breath to increase vitality.

By combining these practices, you have the perfect opportunity to drink in the freshness of the morning. Let the beautiful morning light and clean air wake up your senses, as you move your body with joy. You bring this clean, clear energy to your centre, circulating throughout your entire being. This freshness wakes you up and nourishes you with light and vitality to sustain you for the whole day.


Connection with the seasons and life cycles

The energy of the morning is related to the Spring and to birth – fresh, new, sprouting and tender.

Some people find that the only time they’re available to exercise is the evening. This is when Nature is closing down, retreating inwards, preparing to become quiet and still – like the Autumn closing down into the quietness of Winter.

If evening is the only time you can exercise, then it’s certainly better than having no exercise at all. But do see if there’s anything you can change that allows you to move and open up in the morning, then settle and become quiet in the evening. Even if just on the weekends.

You will likely find that your sleep and energy dramatically improve with these simple adjustments.


Getting support

Acupuncture tradition includes “seasonal treatments” that help your body to adjust as the seasons shift, keeping you connected to the source of energy in nature. Contact us to book in for a seasonal treatment or to harmonise any imbalances so you can be at your peak.



This post is brought to you by Lois Nethery, acupuncturist and Chinese medicine herbalist at Ocean Acupuncture in Curl Curl on Sydney's Northern Beaches.

Disclaimer - Ocean Acupuncture is a natural medicine centre of independent health practitioners. The views expressed in this blog are the author's only and do not necessarily reflect the views of all Ocean Acupuncture practitioners. The information presented in this blog, and on the Ocean Acupuncture website, is for interest and educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for health or medical information or advice. For health or medical advice, please consult your health professional.

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