What’s the Best Time Of The Day To Exercise?

Fitness: Get Fit

By: // April 16, 2014

What time of the day do you like to workout?  Maybe you are a morning person or you’ve found a fitness class you love that just happens to be in the evening. Or maybe you squeeze exercise into your daily schedule whenever you can. If you’ve ever wondered what’s the best time of the day to exercise … keep reading!

I posted about this topic on my Facebook Page, and got more than 100 responses According to my informal Facebook poll, most people exercise in the … early morning! And I do, too. I exercise at 5:30 a.m. on three days of the week and between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. on the other days and weekends. Is it obvious that I’m a morning person?

So if most people on my Facebook Page say they exercise in the morning, are they onto something? Is morning exercise best? Well, let’s take a look.

Why exercise in the mornings?

• Exercising in the morning energizes you for the rest of the day. Exercising early in the morning jump starts your metabolism keeping it elevated for hours. As a result, many report being more alert for the day and more productive. I just feel better about starting my day when I know I’ve already done something good for my body and mind.

• Morning might still be the best option even if you have several time slots to choose from throughout the day. I hear from some people who are retired or those who have a few hours when the kids are in school, but they still choose to workout in the early morning. Why? Well, there’s something to be said for getting it done. It’s that “early bird gets the worm” thing. When you tell yourself, “I’ll exercise later today,” you create opportunity for distraction and detours. “Later” might easily turn into “never.” And for those of us who travel, I know that client dinners and late nights working often derail a well-intended workout.

• Based on the reasons above, morning exercise tends to be more consistent in the long run. If it’s the first thing, or one of the first things, you do in your day, there’s less chance of your workout getting postponed or derailed.

Why exercise in the afternoons/evenings?

• Let’s be clear that a calorie burned at 6 a.m. is the same as one burned at 6 p.m. However, your performance might be better or worse depending on how your energy and moods shift throughout the day. If you’re really, really not a morning person, you might feel stronger in your afternoon or evening workouts compared to the morning.

• Recent research published in the Journal of Physiology found that exercising in the afternoon may be most beneficial for helping the body regulate its internal clock, or circadian rhythm. A well-regulated circadian rhythm contributes to more restful sleep and other health benefits. One caveat: The subjects in this study were mice. More research needs to be done on timing of exercise with people.

• Another consideration is the type of exercise available to you at different times of the day. For example, a solo treadmill workout in the morning versus a social fitness class after work. It all comes down to what fitness format motivates you most.

Bottom line: The best time to exercise is the time you’re most likely to do it! Finally, don’t forget that you can accumulate exercise in 10- or 20-minute chunks. That gives you the opportunity to experience morning and afternoon/evening exercise all in one day. My trick in the warmer months, I workout in the early morning and then try to fit in a walk in the afternoon to take a break from work, clear my head and give the dog some exercise too.

Tell me about your current routine: What time of the day do you work out, and why?

READ THIS NEXT: 17 Excuses Why You Skip Exercise

Printed from GetHealthyU.com


on April 3, 2013 at 4:03 PM Reply

I love to work out in the evening...around 6:30 or 7:00 pm. But because I have three children who are very involved in sports and after school activities, my schedule does not allow for it most of the time. Therefore, I force myself to get up at 6:00 am and get my workout in. Like some others mentioned, I am so not a morning person! But I do what I have to do!!

on March 7, 2013 at 3:31 AM Reply

I agree that working out in the morning is the best way to avoid putting it off and every little bit does help. It can feel like a drag getting out of bed, but, as they say, the only workouts you ever regret are the ones you don't do!

on March 7, 2013 at 3:26 AM Reply

I love working out in the morning cause it makes me feel good all day. Accomplishing something so worthwhile first thing really puts me in a positive, purposeful state of mind.

on February 27, 2013 at 12:56 PM Reply

I am sooo not a morning person, but it is a great time for me to do it b/c I get it done, especially in the winter! Getting dark early is so not motivating. I do enjoy night/ evening runs when the weather warms up though, those are my fave!

on February 27, 2013 at 9:29 AM Reply

Hi Chris, I prefer to exercise first thing in the morning at 5:00; however, if my bed holds me captive, I will exercise in the afternoon. The morning routine allows me to "get it over with" and also have one less thing to think about during the day. I do have more energy throughout the day on the mornings I exercise. I recently completed a full marathon and our training sessions were in the morning. I did find that I had better runs in the morning versus the afternoon. When we did afternoon runs, it seemed like I just ran out of fuel. Now that the marathon is behind me, I am happy to begin my "extreme 10 pound slimdown" again as I love your workouts!! I also love that even if I am out of steam in the afternoon, I can always convince myself to at least do one of your recovery workouts! Thanks for everything you do! Motivating us through exercise, emails and yummy recipes. You are the best!

on February 27, 2013 at 7:41 AM Reply

Hey Chris!! I'm 49 and I would always prefer exercise in the a.m. because I am a morning person. Unfortunately, my schedule rarely allows it, so I have to push myself for later afternoon. I have talked to a natural doctor regarding why we feel sluggish and tired in the afternoons (at least I do), and he mentioned to me that blood sugars build up during the day (even though I'm sugar, grain-free). I find that exercising in the later afternoon is a struggle to get into because of that afternoon slump, but I feel so much better afterwards because I've burned up those excess blood sugars. Anyway, I would still prefer morning workouts, but gotta do what ya gotta do.

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