Some people would say that nothing beats the feeling of a 7 a.m. run through their local park as they get their body prepared for the upcoming day. And others would tell you there’s no way they’d even roll out of bed before the crack of dawn, let alone lace up their jogging shoes and head to the gym. This leads us to an old question: Is the best time to exercise morning or evening?
While some swear by the increased energy they feel in the afternoon, and others wholeheartedly believe that the morning is made for testing their body’s limits, is there really a time of day that’s ideal for working out? And if so, is the best time to exercise morning or evening?
Does Time Really Matter?
Whether you decide to go salsa dancing with your partner at midnight or climb your way through the forest of your nearby parks before sunrise, pat yourself on the back because exercising at any time of the day is an accomplishment.
But if you’re looking to get the most out of your physical activity, you may be willing to change your exercise routine around to maximize your health benefits. Whether you want to burn more calories or experience even greater bursts of energy, you won’t have to pick one specific time of day to get your heart pumping. The truth is that there isn’t one particular time that’s best for working out — it’s merely a matter of preference.
No research studies indicate that there’s a universally-accepted time for maximizing your workouts. In fact, reaping the most benefits will be entirely up to you. The American Heart Association recommends exercising at a time that ensures you’re much more likely to be consistent with your workouts.
The key to developing an effective workout regimen is sticking with your goals and making a continual effort to remain active over time. Which time of day works best for you? Below, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of exercising at sunrise and sunset.
The Benefits of an Early Morning Workout
We’re betting that at least once or twice in your life, your parents have woken you up early under the pretense that “the early bird catches the worm.” But while you may have shooed them out of your room as your wrapped yourself up in your blankets, you may be wondering if there was any truth to this statement — especially when it comes to exercise.
For some people, engaging in a workout early in the morning is the best way to kick-start their day. If you’re looking to shed a few extra pounds, an exercise regimen may be the best option for you.
When you wake up early and head out to the gym before eating breakfast, you can burn up to 20% more body fat just by getting active before eating your first meal. Working out earlier may help regulate your appetite later on in the day, too.
But if you’re simply looking to remain active and maintain your current weight, do what’s best for you. The simple answer is that if you’re a morning person, it’s likely best to get your workouts in early on in the day.
The Perks of an Evening Workout
If you find that you often don’t get home from work or call it a day until well after midnight, it may be best to skip morning workouts and engage in some physical activity in the afternoon instead. If you force yourself to wake up early and get too little sleep, you’re likely to experience poor cognitive and physical performance that can impair your ability to perform workout-based tasks.
Although early morning workouts can help you burn more fat, evidence suggests that an evening workout can help you train your muscles better, too. Since your body temperature is higher in the afternoon, your muscles are more warmed-up and ready to handle activity without aching or pain.
So, Is the Best Time to Exercise Morning or Evening?
Is the best time to exercise morning or evening? There are different benefits to both, but the simple answer is that you should work with what fits your lifestyle best.
If you’re a busy mom who wants to have time to spend with her children while also getting in her necessary 30 minutes of exercise after work, consider loading up your babies into a jogging stroller and going for an evening run. But if you’re a morning bird who can appreciate a beautiful sunrise, head out to the beach to do some early morning yoga instead.
Anyone asking themselves the question, “Is the best time to exercise in the morning or evening,” should also be wondering, “What time of day am I likely to get the most out of my workout?”
According to research studies, 82% of adults don’t engage in enough muscle-strengthening and cardiovascular activities. To be a part of the 12% that do, choose a time of day where you can consistently give exercise your most attention and dedication.
Dealing with the everyday tasks of life isn’t easy. You want to be able to go to work, spend time with your family, engage in leisure activity and still find enough time to get in your workouts, too. Fortunately, you don’t have to stick to just one time of day when developing a healthy habit, because healthy living is healthy living.
So get your cardio playlist ready for tomorrow morning or put on your most comfortable pair of Nikes for an evening jog now — because there’s never a better time to develop healthy workout habits than when you’re ready to go.