What’s the best time to workout?, is it in the morning or in the evening?. Is there any advantage to exercising at any particular time of day?
Strangely experts don’t think there is any real advantage to working out at any particular time of day.
The most important thing they say is choosing a time of day that makes it easy for you to be consistent. Consistency not time is what they say matters most when it comes to the efficacy of your exercise.
Actually research has shown that when you exercise consistently at a particular time of day your body adapts so that you start performing better and getting more out of your workout at that time of day than at any other time.
That exercising consistently at a particular time of day leads to better performance, better and more efficient oxygen consumption and reduced exhaustion.
Experts believe that whether you enjoy exercising in the morning or at any other time of day is determined by your body’s natural rhythm or body clock. Your body’s “ circadian rhythm” in geekier speak which is really the way the natural functions of your body have adapted to the 24 hour pattern of the earth’s rotation.
They believe it’s just best to listen to your body and go with the flow as it were…with other important daily constraints factored in as necessary.
The Pros And Cons Of Exercising In The Mornings Or Evenings
Although research has shown that exercising in the morning makes it more likely that you will be more consistent and more faithful to your routine primarily because mornings tend to be pressure free.
Poor sleep can however easily interfere with it and make it less effective. It is hard to have a good mornings exercise when you are feeling exhausted from lack of sleep although working out in the morning say around 7 am has also been shown to cause better sleep at night than exercising during the afternoon or late in the evening. Working out later than 8 pm may disrupt sleep.
But in the morning your body’s core temperature tends to be low which makes your muscles stiff and prone to injuries, tears and sprains making a warm up indispensable.
And moderate morning workout…say taking a brisk walk for 45 minutes on a treadmill has been shown to curb appetite immediately after working out and that exercising on an empty stomach can help you burn up to 20% more body fat.
On the other hand exercising later in the day, say after work may be the pressure free zone for some people who may also find it an easier time to exercise because they are not needing to struggle with the impulses of sleep…their body is already fully alert and because they are already on the move and can more easily make the jump from “busy” to “workout” without needing much by way of warm up because your body is already warmed up as it were, much more mobile and much less prone to injuries.
In fact strength and endurance is highest in the late afternoon when your core body temperature is highest and blood pressure and heart rate lowest.
Reaction time is also quickest later in the day.
All these make for a more effective injury free workout later in the day than in the morning. Studies have shown workouts to be most effective between 2:30 pm and 8 pm.
So, while mornings are great for consistency, afternoons are better for efficacy which is when strength development and muscle growth is highest.
Besides, testosterone a hormone that boosts strength and muscle growth during exercise peaks in the late afternoon and cortisol a hormone that causes more fat distribution and storage and more muscle loss is produced most in the morning and decreases throughout the day and during exercise.
Exercising later in the day is just easier and more sensible for some people too especially people with “ungodly hour” jobs.
For some other people lunch time is the best time because it is when they are free or feel motivated to workout.
For some other people it is while they are working as they do one desk exercise or another.
What time of day suits you best?, just ask yourself the time of day you love working out in the most and you’d have your answer.
If you are not sure you can “test” different times of day to find out.
But whatever your personal preference may be experts believe that the single most important factor that should determine what time you exercise is whatever time of day enables you exercise the most consistently because making exercise part of your life is what really creates great results in the long run and not the particular time of day in which you exercise.